I guess I should start off this article by introducing myself. My name is Ben Mitchum (ChiefMojo) and I'm the new football recruiting corespondent for SB Nation Cowboy Altitude. I come to you from Jayhawk/Wildcat territory.
I've always been fascinated by football recruiting and have followed it closely throughout the years. I'm appreciative of the opportunity to provide the Wyoming Cowboy faithful with recruiting updates throughout the year.
Times are definitely changing in Laramie when it comes to the football program under the new leadership of Craig Bohl. Recruiting itself will be different than what we saw it under Dave Christensen. Coach Bohl wants a hard-nosed, physical and disciplined football program. It will take hard, methodical work. This program will not be rebuilt overnight but it could take a good three to four years before the Poke faithful will see this football program at or near the top of the Mountain West Conference, in my opinion. We all hope it is much quicker than that but when you are dealing with system changes and a brand new style of football player, it will be a gradual process.
One of the first notable changes we will see with the new recruiting philosophy is where the Cowboys will be recruiting. First and foremost, recruiting the Front Range will be the main focus. This has always been the staple of Wyoming football recruiting. Finding the best prospects in Wyoming and Colorado is the first order of business. Coach Bohl and staff look to visit every school in the State of Wyoming, much like they did in North Dakota. No rock will be left unturned. There are seventy-six high schools in Wyoming alone to be mined. This doesn't mean Wyoming's roster will be filled with mostly Wyoming kids. The coaching staff is going to do their best to find any kid that may be able to help the Cowboy football program from in-state, whether that means a scholarship or walking-on.
After Wyoming and Colorado, the staff will most likely look to the states of Nebraska, Montana, and Kansas. A lot of under-recruited kids come from these states. Proximity to Wyoming is the key. With Coach Bohl having deep ties to the state of Nebraska, one needs to keep a very close eye on their top prospects. Whatever kids that don't get offers from the in-state Cornhuskers are open game for this staff. Nebraska's walk-on program is well-documented, but presenting a Nebraska kid an option to play D-1 football nearby and on scholarship could by enticing.
Expect the staff to still recruit their old stomping grounds often. Such states as North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri will be prime territory where the staff will also be recruiting. Some will be recruited harder than others, of course. Keep a very close eye on Minnesota as a prime recruiting stop.
With Coach Pete Kaligis still on staff, expect the Cowboys to still recruit the Northwest. Such states as Idaho, Washington, and Oregon will still be mined for future Pokes. I believe Coach Brent Vigen has spent time recruiting in the Northwest as well.
I'm sure there are those that are wondering if the new staff will hit up warmer climates. From what I have heard so far, don't expect a big presence in such locales likeTexas. I could still see the staff dabble in California high schools a fair amount but much of it could be coming from the Junior College ranks. Speaking of the Juco's, expect the new staff to look throughout the country in that department but such states as Kansas, California, Arizona, and Utah would be the logical hot spots. Lastly, when it comes to warmer climate states, expect Arizona and Florida to be prime areas under the watchful eyes of Coach AJ Cooper.
One would expect any prospect that comes into Wyoming for a visit to fit the "Wyoming profile," guys that will embrace the history of Wyoming football and that are Cowboy Tough. Exciting times are ahead and I look forward to sharing the future of Wyoming Cowboy football with everyone.