Signing day has come and gone for the Wyoming football program. Head coach Craig Bohl and his staff have welcomed 24 new scholarship players to the team. Entering his fourth year as head coach after a successful 8-6 2016 season. Craig Bohl is now in program depth building mode and freshman will no longer be thrust into playing right away out of necessity. The majority of these incoming freshman will be redshirted just as last year’s class was. In 2016, only seven true freshmen played and that number could be even lower in 2017. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a few freshman in this class who earn playing time by proving to be among the best at their position on the team. Here are five freshmen I could see making an impact on Wyoming football this fall.
OL Patrick Arnold – Gretna, NE
The lineman from Gretna, Nebraska played for the Dragons in high school and he could bring some fire to the Wyoming offensive line. Arnold has the size (6-3 and 290lb) to play right away and most importantly he has the skill set. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school and one of those sports was wrestling. When you watch his film you can see he understands things like footwork and leverage that he had to perfect as a wrestler. Arnold may not start right away but he could work his way into the offensive line rotation especially in goal line packages. I rate Arnold ahead of other offensive linemen in this class because of his ability to play inside.
DL Victor Jones – Sacramento, CA
Depth and size on the defensive line have been a problem for Wyoming in recent seasons. At 6-4 and 235lb the high school product out of California could help out in both of those shortcomings. Playing time at the defensive end position could be available early in the season with Carl Granderson coming off of ACL surgery. Wyoming doesn’t get defensive lineman at a ready to play size very often and if the coaches can coach Jones up he can be a four-year regular contributor on the Cowboy defense.
WR Jared Scott – Oak Park, IL
Due to the graduation of wide receivers Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt there are opportunities for playing time at the wide receiver position. Jared Scott has the size (6-6, 215lb) and talent to fill some of that production at wide receiver. Watching Scott’s film is impressive because in high school he did not rely exclusively on his size to catch footballs. In his film, you can see Scott attacking every ball in the air thrown his way. The big receiver could develop into a favorite target for Wyoming quarterbacks sooner than later.
ATH Trey Woods – North Bend, OR
The product out of Oregon is a top athlete who is already of Division I size. He played numerous positions on both sides of the ball in high school but will start out at LB for the Pokes. At 6-3 and 210lb Woods could play a role on defense as a hybrid OLB and DB for the Cowboys much like D.J. May did. His size and speed allow him to comfortably cover tight ends and running backs in pass coverage Additionally, Woods has the profile of someone who can help out on special teams immediately and that will only help his cause in seeing the field at a true freshman in 2017. The coaching staff noted during signing day that they considered playing him on both sides of the ball. UCLA did this with stand-out Miles Jack and had great success.
P Tim Zaleski – Chicago, IL
Zaleski the 6-5, 215lb punter out of Chicago is almost guaranteed to play in 2017. With the graduation of punter Ethan Wood, there is no other punter currently listed on the Wyoming Roster. Zaleski will have a chance to make an instant impact after averaging 38.3 yards per kick as a senior in high school. That number was at sea level and with some good technique coaching the big punter could be a weapon at an altitude of 7200 feet. Punters do not receive scholarships out of high school very often in modern college football. This tells you how much the Wyoming coaching staff likes him.