UW gets commitment from in-state product

Ryan Anaya, a 6-foot-3, 248-pound senior-to-be football player at Casper Natrona County High school verbally committed to the University of Wyoming Monday night.

Here’s a link to some highlight videos, which lists Anaya at 6-3, 225

http://www.hudl.com/athlete/646221/highlights/10324377

Anaya was an all-state tight end for Natrona last season as a junior and helped the Mustangs reach the semifinals of the Class 4A playoffs where they lost to Cheyenne East. Anaya caught 11 passes for 172 yards.

UW recruited Anaya as a linebacker, and is the first in-state recruit to commit to the Cowboys’ 2013 recruiting class. He played defense last season as an outside linebacker. Anaya recorded 44 tackles, 42 of which were solo stops. He also had six tackles for loss, broke up one pass, had one fumble recovery and intercepted one pass.

Anaya was offered during UW’s one-day high school camp on June 10 in Laramie.

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Three linemen commit to UW football

Three linemen — two offensive and one defensive — have verbally committed to the Wyoming football program.

The offensive linemen are Nathan Leddige (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) from Southridge High in Beaverton, Ore., and Chase Roullier (6-4, 290) from Burnsville High in Burnsville, Minn.

Sam Hardy (6-3, 270) from Chaminade High in West Hills, Calif., is the defensive lineman.

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Another Nzeocha coming to UW

Wyoming got a verbal commitment Monday from Eric Nzeocha, a receiver and defensive back from Germany, and the younger brother UW true freshman linebacker Mark Nzeocha.

Eric Nzeocha plays for the Franken Knights youth team in Germany, the same squad his older brother and two other current UW players played for — true freshman linebacker Alex Borgs and senior linebacker Oliver Schober.

Eric Nzeocha is projected as an athlete for UW right now, but along with playing offense and defense he’s also returned kicks.

A third Nzeocha brother, Paul, is a defensive lineman for one of the Knights’ other youth teams.

Evan Williams, a 5-foot-11, 185 pound running back from Minneapolis’ DeLaSalle High, is scheduled to enroll at UW in December.

Williams was part of UW’s 2010 recruiting class, but didn’t make it to fall camp because of academic reasons. As a senior, Williams was ranked as the ninth-best recruit in Minnesota by Rivals.com. He played quarterback as a senior, ran for 2,301 yards, threw for 1,266 yards and accounted for 41 touchdowns.

Hope you will keep checking out the blog and Twitter @rpgagliardi a lot Tuesday as the first day of Mountain West Football Media day activities take place. Let me know if you have any specific questions, or comments. Should be a fun couple of days here in Las Vegas.

Arroyo knows young QBs

Now that signing day has come and gone at Wyoming, what’s next?

First, here’s the link to the official UW release on the signees: http://www.wyomingathletics.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/020211aac.html

How about trying to figure out who will start at quarterback. Right now redshirt freshman Emory Miller Jr. and true freshman Brett Smith will get the first look when spring drills begin March 5.

True freshman Adam Pittser, UW’s highest touted recruit, comes in later this summer. In fact, some recruiting services rate Pittser as the highest-rated recruit UW ever signed. He is the fifth-best QB in the nation according to Rivals.com in terms of arm strength, and 19th-best dual threat QB in the nation.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks cocach Marcus Arroyo knows what it’s like to work with young quarterbacks. He helped Austyn Carta-Samuels emerge as the starter in the fourth game in 2009 when Carta-Samuels was a true freshman.

Arroyo himself played as a true freshman when he was at San Jose State.

Arroyo said his ability to know what it’s like to play as a young quarterback and coach them were factors in why coach Dave Christensen hired him three years ago.

“I’ve coached one senior in eight years now,” Arroyo said. “I’ve never had a guy longer than two years. Building a guy and helping mold him into what we need in a quality athlete and a competitor (is what I need to do).”

So what approach will Arroyo take with his three young QBs moving forward? Will it change based on the fact Carta-Samuels left the team for personal reasons after the 2010 season after being a two-year starter?

“The same approach we took last year,” he said. “These guys and are coming in fresh. We know a lot about their character and who they are because we recruited them. We haven’t seen them on the field yet, but we’re excited about that.”

UW is only a month into off-season workouts, and coaches have been busy recruiting up until nonw. They won’t have a lot of contact with their players until spring drills. Still, Arroyo likes what he sees in Miller Jr. and Smith.

“Both are good workers. Both have some skills that we believe fit the system,” Arroyo said. “We’ve seen Brett for four weeks now. He’s been working out and running. He is what we thought it he would be. He’s athletic, a good-looking kid, solid and wants to be great.

“Emery is athletic and does some real good things in the spread system. He’s very comfortable back there in it. We will see what they do in the spring.”

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Christensen started off UW’s signing day presentation by giving out some rankings about this year’s class from Rivals.com.

He said the Cowboys had the top linebacker class in the MWC, and that Pittser and LB/DE Eddie Yarbrough from Colorado are two of the highest-rated recruited to ever sign at UW since the inception of Rivals.com.

Christensen said the kicking class was the 10th-best in the nation, and that long snapper Zach Ewen was the only UW signee to ever have played in the Under Armour All-American game.

The linebacking class was 26th nationally and the receiver class was 38th — all according to Rivals.com.

And, the eight three-star recruits signed was the most in school history. UW inked six last year.

But all that matters to Christensen is this: “Is the guy good enough to win and win at a high level, and are they a good fit?”

In his mind, this class is all that.

For more from signing day, see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune-Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com

No surprises on signing day for UW. … so far

I was just told that Wyoming got all of its national letters of intent from its high-school recruits this morning.

Everyone signed that was expected to sign.

Will know more at the 2:30 p.m. news conference this afternoon. I will provide live updates via Twitter @rpgagliardi, and at 4 p.m. host a live chat from signing day. Here is the link to that: http://tinyurl.com/4bpbbxa

Top UW-BYU basketball games

There isn’t much talk that Wednesday likely will be the last Wyoming-BYU men’s basketball game in Laramie, or at least for quite a while.

BYU moves to the West Coast Conference next season in hoops and most other sports, and will be an independent in football.

UW’s current basketball struggles has most to do with such little fanfare for Wednesday’s game. At 8-13 overall, 1-6 in the MWC and coming off a 39-point loss at No. 7 San Diego State last Saturday, most wonder how bad it will be Wednesday against No. 8 BYU.

The Cowboys have lost 11 straight to the Cougars dating back to 2005. The average margin of victory during that time for BYU has been about 13 points, and 17.5 points in the last five.

Good riddance if this is the last time UW sees BYU in Laramie, right?

But what is your favorite UW-BYU men’s basketball game or memory?

Even though I was only 11 years old at the time, my favorite was in 1982 when UW won at BYU 27-25.That win went a long way to helping the Cowboys get to the NCAA Tournament that year.

Other good ones include the last time UW swept BYU in the regular season, which was in 2005.

Steve McClain’s last game as UW’s coach was a loss to BYU in the semifinals of the MWC tournament in 2007. Not a favorite memory, but a memorable one.

Would love to hear yours.

See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.comfor more on Wednesday’s game, including a look at what people are saying about BYU senior guard Jimmer Fredette, a candidate for Player of the Year in the country. Is he the best player to have played in the Arena-Auditorium? Would love to know your thoughts on that.

Also, the UW and BYU women play for first place in the MWC Wednesday. And, Wednesday is signing day for UW football. Look for a story on two of UW’s newest players from Germany in Wednesday’s papers. Also join me at 4 p.m. Wednesday for a live chat about the signing class and anything else UW related. See the top of this blog for the direct link.

Tough times for UW hoops

I’m not trying to make light of the downtrodden Wyoming men’s basketball team right now. The Cowboys (8-13, 1-6) are coming off a 96-57 loss at No. 7 San Diego State, have lost five straight and face another top 10 team Wednesday in No. 8 Brigham Young.

Coach Heath Schroyer was asked Monday what’s happended to his team in conference play.

“I think it’s a combination of us having tough timing,” he said. “We’ve been injured and really banged up when we’ve gone on the road playing teams similar to we are. The league has never been this good. It’s a tough year to have some tough luck. It’s tough luck to be young, and a tough year to go through some tough luck.”

That’s a lot of use for the word “tough.”

It’s also tough when you’re last in the Mountain West Conference in scoring (66 ppg), field-goal percentage (43.8 percent), 3-point shooting (28.1 percent) and 3-point shooting defense (39.9 percent).

For more on the UW-BYU game and other news and notes from around the MWC, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com

Also join me at 4 p.m. Wednesday for a live chat on UW’s 2011 football recruiting class. See the top of the blog for the link.

Texas CB commits to UW

DeAndre Jones, a 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback from Harker Heights High in Harker Heights, Texas, verbally committed to Wyoming Sunday.

Here is a video highlight from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLtC3HCw3-Y

Jones visited Laramie this past weekend, and is believed to be the final verbal commitment for UW in its 2011 recruiting class. Signing day is Wednesday. Jones fills UW need at cornerback in this class after Demarius Reed (5-10, 155) out of Chicago decommitted recently. According to Rivals.com, Reed committed to Eastern Michigan over the weekend.

Jones runs a 4.55-second 40-yard dash. He also was recruited by Army, UTEP and Montana State. He is the eighth player from Texas to have committed or signed with UW in this year’s class.

UW has 19 verbal commitments and six others currently enrolled in school in this year’s recruiting class.

Reed, defensive tackle Gary Lee out of Tulsa, Okla., (Tulsa) and quarterback Cole Stoudt out of Dublin, Ohio (Clemson) are recruits UW had verbal commitments from at some point during the recruiting process but changed their minds.

Be sure to join me at 4 p.m. Wednesday for a live chat on UW’s 2011 recruiting class. Here is the link to the chat http://wyomingcowboysblog.com/2011/01/28/live-chat-football-signing-day/ and it will appear as the top story on this blog as a reminder as well.

Here the latest list of UW’s 2011 recruiting class

%^Luke Anderson, S (5-10, 185) Southlake, Texas (Blinn College)

^Zack Berg, S, 6-1, 202, Edmonds, Wash. (Woodway HS)

%^Alex Borgs, LB, 6-1, 220, Duesseldorf, Germany

^Blair Burns, CB, 5-10, 155, Plano, Texas (Plano HS)

*Josh Doctson, WR, 6-3, 175, Mansfield, Texas (Legacy HS)

^Zach Ewan, LS, 5-11, 230, Phoenix (North Canyon HS)

DeAndre Jones, CB, 6-0, 170, Harker Heights, Texas (Harker Heights HS)

^Jake Jones, OL, 6-4, 285, Lakewood, Colo. (Lakewood HS)

%*Korey Jones, LB, 6-2, 215, Garden City (Kan.) CC, Fort Collins, Colo.

^Rafe Kiely, OG 6-3, 288, Wheaton, Ill. (North HS)

%*Miraldo Michel, DE, 6-3, 250, Ellsworth (Iowa) CC, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

^Malkaam Muhammad, LB, 6-0, 210, St. Joseph, Mo. (Central HS)

^London Muse, WR, 5-11, 170, Sugar Land, Texas, (Dulles HS)

^Trey Norman, ATH, 6-1, 170, Texarkana, Texas, (Liberty-Eylau HS)

%*Mark Nzeocha, S, 6-2, 215, Neusitz, Germany

*Adam Pittser,QB,  6-1, 200, Richmond, Ill. (Burton HS)

*Chad Reese, CB, 5-11, 174, Tyler, Texas, (Lee HS)

*Kevin Robertson, WR, 6-4, 208, Houston (Northland Christian HS)

^Dominic Rufran, WR, 5-11, 175, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Palmer HS)

^Zach Rushing, OG, 6-4, 290, D’Iberville, Miss. (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College)

%^Brett Smith, QB, 6-1, 185, Salem, Ore. (West HS)

^Daniel Sullivan, K, 5-10, 165, Everett, Wash. (Jackson HS)

^Kody Sutton, RB, 5-9, 186, Texarkana, Texas (Texas HS)

^Austin Traphagan, OL, 6-6, 280, Yuma, Colo. (Yuma HS)

*Eddie Yarbrough, LB, 6-3, 235, Aurora, Colo. (Grandview HS)

^Two-star recruit by Rivals.com

*Three-star recruit by Rivals.com

%Currently enrolled at UW

Lee swtiches from UW to Tulsa

Wyoming lost a verbal commitment in football Thursday when defensive tackle Gary Lee (6-5, 285) from Victory Christian High in Tulsa, Okla., changed his mind and committed to Tulsa.

Here is the short article out of the Tulsa World: http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/TU/article.aspx?subjectid=94&articleid=20110128_94_B5_CUTLIN696163

You see this happen a lot of football recruiting. When a school sees a recruit in its own backyard commit to another school, it often makes a late push for that kid. UW did that in coach Dave Christensen’s first recruiting class in 2009 with Gillette’s Spencer Bruce. Bruce verbally committed to Southern Mississippi, but not long before signing day changed his mind and signed with the Cowboys.

Right or wrong, ethical or not this is a big part of college recruiting.

UW still has 18 verbal commitments and six other players signed and enrolled in school. Don’t be surprised if the Cowboys get a verbal commitment from a high school defensive back this weekend, which is the final weekend recruits can visit prior to signing day on Wednesday.

Arizona QB to walk-on at UW

Zaquoya Parham, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound dual-threat quarterback from Shadow Mountain High in Phoenix, is expected to walk-on to the Wyoming football team this fall.

Rivals.com listed Parham as a verbal commitment Tuesday night. However, sources told me he will walk-on and won’t be announced on signing day a week from Wednesday.

Parham has not received any other scholarship offers, according to Rivals’ recruiting website.

Parham was 67 of 127 for 913 yards with 12 TDs and 5 INTs as a senior. He was third on his team with 240 rushing yards. He played some at defensive back, but in four games he had only seven tackles.