One of the most anticipated days of the year for any college football program is National Signing Day, and on Wednesday the University of Wyoming announced the signing of 23 student-athletes as new members of the Cowboy Football program.
Head coach Dave Christensen announced his fifth recruiting class at Wyoming at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Of the 23 signees announced, 11 of them, or nearly half, are already on campus. Four freshmen and six junior college transfers enrolled at UW for the 2013 spring semester.
The 11th member already on campus is junior wide receiver Justin Berger, who was awarded a scholarship after walking on to the Cowboy Football team last fall.
The other 12 members of the 2013 Wyoming recruiting class were announced for the first time on Wednesday. Those 12 new names included 11 high school seniors and one junior college offensive linemen.
The class was well-balanced, with 11 recruits on offense, 11 on defense and one special-teams recruit.
Four states had multiple players sign with UW. There were seven signees from the state of California, five from Colorado, three from Arizona and two from Illinois. One player each signed from the states of Wyoming, Hawai'i, Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin -- for a total of 10 different states being represented.
"I feel like we met our immediate needs on the defensive side of the ball with guys who can come in and compete and contribute right away," said Christensen. "We've added two quality high school running backs (Omar Stover and Joshua Tapscott) -- one of who joined us at the semester (Stover). Both are outstanding players.
"We signed five offensive linemen, including a junior college center and four really good high school linemen, and we added some good depth on the defensive line.
"We have a quarterback (Tom Thornton), who originally signed with us last year and gray-shirted. He will come into the program with another year of maturity.
"We didn't recruit heavily in the receiving department, mainly because we lost only one player (senior Chris McNeill) at that position. But we signed a very good high school receiver (Tanner Gentry) and rewarded another player (Justin Berger), who walked on to our team last year, with a scholarship.
"One of the scholarships we may have used on a wide receiver in past years, we utilized to sign 6-6, 255-pound junior college tight end, J.D. Krill.
"Linebacker-wise, we signed three junior college players, who are currently with us, and one high school player from the state of Wyoming (Ryan Anaya). They all bring some great athleticism to our defense. We've also added four players in the secondary, who are really good skill players, to add to a group of returning players in that area.
"We also filled a specific need we had on special teams, bringing in a very good high school All-American deep snapper (Brendan Turelli)."
When asked how he viewed having a large percentage of this year's class join the program in January, Christensen described several areas where he felt it would help the Cowboy program.
"I think it is a great advantage to get several of this year's class in here at the semester," said Christensen. "First of all, a number of our mid-year additions are junior college players, who have already played in 20-plus games beyond the high school level, so they come to us with more experience.
"In addition to that added experience, all of the mid-year guys now have the opportunity to go through our winter-conditioning program and develop physically. They have the chance to go through spring ball and get 15 extra practices, so they will be up to speed on what we want them to do heading into the summer."
WYOMING 2013 SIGNEES
DT Troy Boyland, 6-3, 295, Palo Alto, Calif. (College of San Mateo)
LB Jeff Lark, 6-2, 230, Yuma, AZ, (Arizona Western CC)
TE J.D. Krill, 6-6, 250, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (Saddleback CC)
LB Malkaam Muhammad, 6-0, 225, St.Joseph, Mo. (Iowa Western CC)
S Jesse Sampson, 6-1, 200, Mission Hills, Calif. (College of the Canyons)
LB Jordan Stanton, 6-2, 240, Palmdale, Calif. (Los Angeles Pierce College)
QB Tommy Thornton, 6-1, 205, Tempe, Ariz. (Marcos De Niza HS)
LB Ryan Anaya, 6-3, 248, Casper (Casper Natrona County HS)
DT James Diamanti, 6-4, 295, Grand Junction, Colo. (Grand Junction HS)
DT Dalton Fields, 6-3, 270, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Pine Creek HS)
ATH Tanner Gentry, 6-2, 180, Aurora, Colo. (Grandview HS)
OL Taylor Knestis, 6-5, 265, Lakewood, Colo. (Lakewood HS)
S Xavier Lewis, 5-11, 190, Centennial, Colo. (Eaglecrest HS)
OL Charlie Renfree, 6-3, 280, Phoenix (Brophy Prep)
OL Connor Riese, 6-7, 305, Schofield, Wisc. (D.C. Everest HS)
OL Kurtis Stirneman, 6-6, 280, Woodstock, Ill. (Marian Central Catholic HS)
RB Omar Stover, 5-11, 195, Bolingbrook, Ill. (Bolingbrook HS)
RB/ATH Josh Tapscott, 5-8, 183, Nokesville, Va. (Kettle Run HS)
LS Brendan Turelli, 6-2, 240, Phoenix, AZ (Arcadia HS)
OL Albert Perez, 6-1, 285, Monterey Park, CA (E. LA College)
DB Timmy Hayes, 5-9, 187, Encino, CA (Crespi HS)
DB Tim Kanana, 5-11, 190, Honolulu, HI, (Army Prep)
WALK ON AWARDED SCHOLARSHIP
WR Justin Berger, 6-2, 205, Danville, CA (Diablo CC)
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