LARAMIE -- Tyce Westland verbally committed July 23 to play his college football at Wyoming, becoming the first known player in Craig Bohl's 2021 recruiting class.

Westland is a 6-foot, 4-inch, 220-pound defensive end prospect from Pleasanton, Nebraska. He played multiple positions for the Class D-2 State Champions a season ago, including wide receiver, tight end, linebacker and on the defensive front.




Pleasanton, a "village" of just 354 residents north of Kearney, plays 8-man football. Westland led the team in nearly every statistical category as a junior, grabbing 54 passes for 955 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also picked off three passes on defense and tallied an eye-popping 147 tackles.

"The type of defensive end they recruit are athletes and not people that play defensive end," Westland told the Omaha World-Herald the day he committed. "I think they are wanting me to put on about 20 pounds or so, so I can still move well."

Aaron Bohl, first-year linebackers coach and son of the head coach, offered Westland over a Zoom call, according to the Nebraska newspaper. Recruiting visits are off limits due to COVID-19, but Westland said he visited the Laramie campus back in sixth grade on a family vacation.

"They just offered me at the end of the call, which was surprising," Westland said. "They told me they would evaluate my senior film and told me they would evaluate from there. I slept on it, and when I woke up I decided I wanted to commit there."

LATE TO THE PARTY?
Many fans have expressed concern in the Cowboys not landing their first verbal commitment until late July.

What made things even more stressful for some is watching rival Colorado State and its new head coach Steve Addazio landing 18 commitments already for the 2021 class, including five from the state of Colorado -- a fertile recruiting ground for Wyoming and not a staple of the previous Mike Bobo regime.

Sources in Laramie tell me there is no need to panic. Just take a look at the last recruiting class. They also added that coaches prefer the players make an official visit to campus. COVID-19 has put a halt to that, of course. And that could continue throughout the season.

Let's look at that 2020 class.

Wyoming's first verbal came from defensive end Braden Siders, according to Rivals.com. The Arvada, Colorado, product made his intentions known back on April 7, 2019. Cameron Smith and Nick Miles, also from Colorado, said they were coming to UW that June. Gavin Beerup came next. The quarterback from California made his decision on July 26.

The other 20 recruits started announcing that September. December was the month with the most verbals at five. Click HERE to see the rest of the Pokes' 2020 class.

More importantly, all of these players inked with the Pokes last December. A verbal commitment means essentially nothing until the player signs on the dotted line.

Here is where the rest of the Mountain West stacks up today when it comes to known verbal commitments:
Air Force - 7
Boise State - 5
Colorado State - 18
Fresno State - 11
Hawaii - 5
Nevada - 11
New Mexico - 15
San Diego State - 10
San Jose State - 3
UNLV - 10
Utah State - 5
Wyoming - 1

Another factor to keep in mind is the league will have six new head coaches in 2020. Those guys had limited time to snag players for the '20 class and are already looking ahead. Those teams are: CSU, Fresno State, Hawaii, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV.


Rudy and mom Shanna Stofer/ University of Wyoming photo

BACK TO HIS ROOTS
Craig Bohl
is no stranger to recruiting the state of Nebraska.

He's from there. He played his college football in Lincoln. He coached the Huskers' linebackers from 1995 to 2002.

Since he landed in Laramie in 2014, Bohl has inked nine players from his old stomping grounds. There have been some impressive names, too: Youhanna Ghaifan, CJ Johnson, Gavin Rush, Patrick Arnold, Rudy Stofer and Devon Wells-Ross.

Bohl landed three from Nebraska in the latest class: Caleb Robinson (DT), Joseph Braasch (RB) and Kohl Herbolsheimer (OL).