clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How Will Bohl's First Recruiting Class Compare To Christensen's?

New, 4 comments

New coaches can have a hard time putting together solid recruiting classes in their first year on the job.

Ethan Miller

Let's start off with a bit of trivia. There is one member of Dave Christensen's first recruiting class in 2009 that will be on the Cowboys 2014 roster. Care to take a guess?

I'll give you three hints...

1) Went to high school in Colorado

2) Linebacker

3) Medical redshirt

If you guessed Devyn Harris then you are the big winner! Go tell your friends, they will be really excited for you. Of those 24 original signees, there is just the one that remains after six years. Harris is unique and he will have played for two head coaches in their very first year in Laramie.

Christensen had slightly less than two months to put together his first recruiting class. Bohl has basically been on the job a month since he stayed at North Dakota State through their playoff run. Bohl said he wouldn't sign players unless they were ready to play in the Mountain West.

Christensen hit the recruiting in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri in order to try and bring in speed. Those were new targets for Wyoming recruiting, especially Texas. Bohl has found success in Florida, a state that is basically the complete polar opposite of the Cowboy State.

As far as finding starters, Christensen did a solid of getting players that produced right away. The main issue is that these players came from different areas and even guaranteed starting spots couldn't keep them in Laramie. You know who stayed? The majority of the recruits from Colorado and Wyoming. Laramie itself can't be blamed for players leaving. Friction between some players and the staff also resulted in departures.

I'm not counting Nick Carlson or Josh Leonard in the information below as they were both recruited by Joe Glenn. They just joined this recruiting class as a result of grayshirting.


Alvester Alexander - Started three seasons at running back, declared for the NFL draft after his junior year.

Robert Benjamin - Transferred after eventually losing the starting job to Carta-Samuels.

Austyn Carta-Samuels - Started two years for Wyoming at QB, ended up playing at Vanderbilt his senior season.

Shamiel Gary - Freshmen All-American at safety, started two years, transferred to Oklahoma State.


TE Spencer Bruce

LB Devyn Harris

LB Ghaali Muhammad

WR Chris McNeill

S Luke Ruff


Scott Criss - Redshirted in 2009, transferred to Nebraska to walk-on. Appeared in parts of two games at Nebraska.

Rodney Jaynes - Left the program his freshmen year.

Trendt Marsom - Left the program his freshmen year.

Larry Mitchell - Redshirted as a freshmen, left the team at the start of his sophomore year.

Alo Moli - Never attended Wyoming. Went on an LDS Mission and then eventually ended up at Mesa Community College.

Thomas Vonashek - Redshirted in 2009, was kicked off the team in 2010 for a "violation of team rules


Mark Willis and Todd Knight were backups who both graduated early and elected to not come back for their final seasons.

The rest of the group contributed at some point in their career. All of them ending up leaving eventually whether it was it due to injury, or deciding to leave the team.

Here is the full list of Wyoming's 2009 recruiting class:

High-School Signees (21)

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Hometown (Last School)
Alvester Alexander RB 5-11 200 Fr. Houston, Texas (C.E. King)
Kenny Browder DB 5-11 175 Fr. Round Rock, Texas (Stony Point)
Spencer Bruce DL 6-5 215 Fr. Gillette, Wyo. (Campbell County)
Austyn Carta-Samuels QB 6-2 210 Fr. San Jose, Calif. (Bellarmine College Prep)
Scott Criss OL 6-5 250 Fr. Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep)
Shamiel Gary DB 6-1 210 Fr. Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington)
Devyn Harris LB 6-3 200 Fr. Fountain, Colo. (Fountain-Fort Carson)
Rodney Jaynes WR 6-4 205 Fr. Chicago, Ill. (Hales Franciscan)
Todd Knight LB 6-2 200 Fr. Aurora, Colo. (Grandview)
Trendt Marsom DB 6-0 195 Fr. Honolulu, Hawaii (Kaimuki)
Chris McNeill WR 6-1 170 Fr. Simi Valley, Calif. (Notre Dame)
Larry Mitchell DB 6-3 185 Fr. Fort Worth, Texas (North Crowley)
Alo Moli WR 6-3 180 Fr. West Valley, Utah (Cottonwood)
Ghaali Muhammad DB 6-0 200 Fr. St. Joseph, Mo. (Central)
Mike Purcell DL 6-3 260 Fr. Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Highlands Ranch)
Jeff Roueche LB 6-3 205 Fr. Niwot, Colo. (Niwot)
Luke Ruff DB 5-11 190 Fr. Castle Rock, Colo. (Douglas County)
T.J. Smith TE 6-3 215 Fr. Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington)
David Tooley TE 6-5 210 Fr. Moberly, Mo. (Moberly)
Thomas Vonashek OL 6-9 280 Fr. St. Simons Island, Ga. (Glynn Academy)
Mark Willis DL 6-4 230 Fr. Oak Park, Ill. (Oak Park & River Forest)

Junior-College Signee (Will Enroll at UW Fall of 2009) (1)

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Hometown (Last School)
Robert Benjamin QB 6-2 205 Jr. Phoenix, Ariz. (Phoenix CC, Ariz.)

Grayshirt Signees From Feb. 2008 (Enrolled at UW Spring 2009) (2)

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Hometown (Last School)
Nick Carlson# OL 6-4 235 Fr. Arlington Heights, Ill. (Prospect)
Josh Leonard# OL 6-4 250 Fr. Helena, Mont. (Helena)

Will Bohl be able to produce more contributors in his first class? Only time will tell that. We don't have a crystal ball. I think this first class will be judged less on how many starters it produces, and more on how many players stay in Wyoming. When multiple starters leave a program, it is disheartening to the fans, the program and recruiting. If a majority of these players are able to stay in Laramie and help build the foundation for the program, that is what matters.

Players from Florida could enjoy Laramie and the change of pace that it offers. Colorado State has had plenty of success recruiting the sunshine state. There is no reason that can't happen just 64 miles north. Christensen kept changing his recruiting targets each year. Bohl had success with Florida players at North Dakota State, he can repeat that success at Wyoming. The key is consistency.

It will be exciting to watch these players grow, develop and help shape the new direction of Wyoming football. If a sense of community and family is created, then out of state players will feel comfortable and enjoy their time in Laramie.

A new era is upon us, and this is the first step.