Courtesy of Wyoming Athletics
LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen announced his second recruiting class as head coach of the Cowboys on Wednesday at a 3 p.m. press conference. The 2010 Wyoming recruiting class reflects a national recruiting base and features an international flavor.
"As a staff, we've gone wherever we've needed to, to find the best players available," said Christensen.
"This class reflects our national, and you could even say international, recruiting as we signed young men from 13 states and three foreign countries.
"We focused on improving the athleticism and speed of our team with the addition of our second class, and I believe we accomplished that."
Included in the class of 23 student-athletes are Nehemie Kankolongo from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada; Oliver Schober from Munich, Germany; and Kurt Taufa'asau from Pago Pago, American Samoa. Kankolongo rode a bus last summer all the way from British Columbia to Laramie to attend summer football camp. He also had a tie to Wyoming as former Cowboy defensive lineman Corey Mace, who went on to play for the Buffalo Bills of the NFL, is a family friend. Schober was noticed playing in Munich, Germany, by a former player of Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen, and Taufa'asau first made his way from Pago Pago, American Samoa, to the mainland by playing two years at New Mexico Military (Community College) before being recruited by a fellow Polynesian -- Wyoming assistant coach Mike Fanoga.
This year's Wyoming class consists of 17 high school recruits and six junior college transfers. The positions of offensive line, defensive line and wide receiver received the largest influx of players, with five offensive linemen, five defensive linemen and four wide receivers being added to the Cowboy roster. A total of 13 offensive players, nine defensive players and one recruit listed as an "athlete" were added in this year's class of recruits.
While Christensen emphasized that he wants to sign a balanced class each year in terms of recruiting players at all positions, he did acknowledge that there were some specific needs that the Cowboy coaching staff addressed this offseason.
"We always want to maintain a balance in all of our recruiting classes," said Christensen. "But we obviously wanted to improve our depth at wide receiver, offensive line and defensive line, and we feel very good about the players we've added in those areas."
The wide receiver position not only added four new faces, but added two experienced receivers in junior college teammates DeJay Lester and Mazi Ogbonna from Snow College in Utah. Of the five defensive linemen, two of those additions were also experienced junior college players in Taufa'asau and his junior college teammate B.J. Sumter. One of the five offensive line additions, Nick Puetz, brings two years of junior college experience with him from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.
A year ago, Christensen brought in a class that made immediate contributions led by Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels. Christensen believes this year's class has that same potential to make an immediate impact in 2010.
"We had 12 true freshmen from our first recruiting class make significant contributions last year," said Christensen. "I wouldn't be surprised if several members of this year's class make big contributions to our team this coming season."
Carta-Samuels and senior Dax Crum are the only two quarterbacks returning for the Cowboys from last season, and so depth at quarterback was also addressed in this year's recruiting class. Three of UW's signees had outstanding high school careers as quarterbacks. Those three are Emory Miller Jr. from Mesquite, Texas; Sam Stratton from Littleton, Colo.; and Darrenn White from Kansas City, Mo. White is such a versatile player that he is listed simply as an "athlete" on the Wyoming recruiting list.
"We signed three young men in this class who are all exceptional athletes at the quarterback position," said Christensen. "I feel very good about what they bring to our team."
The individuals that make up this year's Wyoming recruiting class come to Wyoming with a number of impressive credentials including:
â€¢Running back Evan Williams ranked as the No. 9 overall recruit in the state of Minnesota
â€¢Defensive lineman Riley Lange ranked as the No. 13 overall recruit in the state of Colorado by Rivals.com.
â€¢All-purpose back Darrenn White ranked as the No. 19 overall recruit in the state of Missouri by Rivals.com.
â€¢Offensive lineman Daniel Fleischman ranked as the No. 24 overall recruit in the state of Washington by SuperPrep/Scouts.com.
â€¢Defensive lineman Sonny Puletasi ranked as the No. 34 overall recruit in the talent-rich state of Oklahoma by Rivals.com. He also earned First Team All-State honors from both the Oklahoma High School Coaches' Association and The Daily Oklahoman.
â€¢Running back Nehemie Kankolongo led his Centennial High School team in Coquitlam, British Columbia to its first provincial championship since 1966.
â€¢Wide receiver Drew Martinez of Green River, Wyo., was named to the Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 All-State team both his junior and senior seasons.
â€¢Defensive lineman Tyler Strong was named First Team All-State Class 4A by The Denver Post.
â€¢Cornerback Austin Daniels was a two-year starter at Mt. San Antonio Community College in California where he led his team to back-to-back appearances in the California State Community College Championship, finishing as the runner-up in 2008 and capturing the state title in 2009.
â€¢Wyoming's other five junior college signees, like Daniels, all led their teams to postseason in 2009. DeJay Lester and Mazi Ogbonna helped lead Snow College to the Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl Championship in Sandy, Utah. Nick Puetz and his Coffeyville Community College squad captured the North Star Bowl in Rochester, Minn., and B.J. Sumter and Kurt Taufa'asau led New Mexixo Military to an appearance in the Central Bank Salt City Bowl in Hutchinson, Kan.