Dave Walsh: Recruiting Is The Lifeblood Of UW Football Program

Dave Walsh writes: Many recruiters, mainly Wyoming opponents of course, will say that living in Wyoming is like living on the moon. They will tell you that Laramie is like the North Pole."

Dave Walsh

February 03, 20234 min read

Dave walsh Uw
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

College football programs all over America are putting the final touches on their rosters these days. 

Wednesday was college football’s National Signing Day. These are the final stages of recruiting new players, adding names to the list of student athletes who were signed during the early signing period that began Dec. 21.

The University of Wyoming Cowboy football program is one of those fully participating in the recruiting process. The UW coaching staff has identified areas of need and has inked a number of quality recruits to meet those needs.

The Pokes announced 21 new commitments to the program Wednesday. And head coach Craig Bohl has said the Cowboys “were able to add great value to our roster.”

Bohl also said, “We’re excited about this group and what they bring to our team for the future. This caps off an excellent recruiting class for 2023.”

I know it probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Recruiting is the lifeblood of any football program.

Recruiting is actually the lifeblood, the defining factor, of any program. No matter the sport, the players are the team. The student athletes who are brought into the program are of the utmost importance. 

And it’s not just about identifying and signing good athletes or that one great player. It’s also important to recruit the right people – genuine, honest and who seem to fit the situation and the place. 

Wyoming is the place, and this place is unique and different.

Many recruiters, mainly Wyoming opponents of course, will say that living in Wyoming is like living on the moon. They will tell you that Laramie is like the North Pole. It snows and the wind blows, every day. Wyoming is a remote outpost, an extremely undesirable place to be, they will say.

And yet, Wyoming continues to add quality players and people to the roster. 

It might be a bit more difficult to recruit here, but this coaching staff has gotten the job done just fine. Like many Wyoming recruiters in the past, this staff has accentuated the positives and built a solid roster.

The Cowboys added eight new transfers Wednesday. Three are scholarship players and five are preferred walk-ons. Wyoming also added 13 new high school commitments, of which five are scholarship players and eight are preferred walk-ons.

The three new scholarship transfers come to Wyoming from Vanderbilt of the SEC, Holy Cross and Navarro Community College in Corsicana, Texas. The other five scholarship signees are high school seniors. They come from Colorado, California, Illinois and Wisconsin. Six of the eight scholarship players earned all-state honors in high school.

Five of the 13 preferred walk-ons joining Cowboys football hail from the Cowboy State. 

• Lucas Chappell, a defensive lineman, was a Star Valley High School star before playing one season at Snow Community College. 

• Defensive back Jevon Davis, a Casper native, comes to UW after playing at Black Hills State. 

• Offensive lineman Abraham Bangoura played at Laramie High School last season.

• Defensive tackle Cody Crawford comes to the Cowboys from Natrona County High School in Casper.

• Wide receiver Kayden LaFramboise played at Thunder Basin High School in Gillette.

There are a total of 35 commitments, including preferred walk-ons, who have been added to the UW football roster. This is the number of new recruits signed during the early signing period, and the latest signees from Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

The Cowboys went hither and yon to find the newest Pokes. 

Texas was the favored spot with nine new Cowboys hailing from the Lone Star State. Colorado is next with six. Then comes Wyoming and California with five players each. 

There also are four new Cowboys from Wisconsin, three from Illinois and one each from Iowa, New Jersey and Tennessee. 

The Cowboys added 17 new players on defense and 16 on offense.

And the position breakdown of this recruiting class tells us a lot about filling the individual needs of this Wyoming football team. 

The Cowboys added eight new players to the defensive secondary and nine to the defensive line. On offense, the Pokes added one quarterback, a fullback/tight end, three running backs, five wide receivers and eight offensive linemen.

I think it’s fun to look into the future of Cowboys team. We’ll get to see what it looks like, for real, in a few months.

But the future sure looks good to me. 

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Dave Walsh

Sports Columnist