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UW FOOTBALL

Wyoming Cowboys "double-down" on recruiting efforts under direction of Gordie Haug

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LARAMIE – On the eve of fall camp, Gordie Haug received a promotion.

Wyoming’s running backs coach now holds the title of “Executive Director of Recruiting for Cowboys Football.”

Craig Bohl wants Haug to “double-down” on the program’s recruiting efforts as UW adapts to the transfer portal era.

The Cowboys lost 15 players to the portal and added nine transfers to the roster during the last cycle. The newcomers came from Power 5 programs (five), Mountain West rivals (two) and junior colleges (two).

“Recruiting has always been the lifeblood of any program. So just doing the best you can with the resources you have is what we talk about every day,” Haug said of the changing recruiting landscape after Monday’s practice. “We’re fortunate here at the University of Wyoming to have unbelievable resources to get the right type of guy. That’s really important to us.”

A few hours later, UW received verbal commitments from three-star quarterback Kaden Anderson and defensive tackle Dante Drake.

Jake Davies, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound tight end prospect from Yorkville, Illinois, added to the surge by announcing his intention to play for the Pokes Tuesday night.

The Pokes’ 2023 recruiting class now has six non-binding pledges expected to sign in December.

There are only three players on the 2022 roster – left tackle Eric Abojei, cornerback Deron Harrell and strong safety Miles Williams – officially listed as seniors.

Bohl is hoping to reduce the number of outgoing transfers after quarterbacks Levi Williams (Utah State) and Sean Chambers (Montana State) left and seven other players moved on to Power 5 programs following the 7-6 finish in 2021.

But UW’s old-school head coach understands the portal is going to be a factor every offseason.

“It certainly has changed, and a guy like myself needs to evolve,” Bohl said. “Gordie came here as a recruiting coordinator. If you look at the makeup of our football team, through that time our talent level improved exponentially. I’m looking at the lay of the land with where we’re at and the skill set he has.

“(Haug) had a desire to coach running backs and he’s a good running back coach, but we’re going to ask him to double-time and double-down and reengage with our strategy. Everything from our high school recruiting to what we’re doing with transfers and everything else.”

Haug arrived at UW with Bohl in 2014 as the director of recruiting. He started coaching the wide receivers in 2015 and has been coaching the running backs since 2018.

At the conclusion of the 2021 season, there were 16 Cowboys on NFL rosters, which was the most among MW programs.

UW All-American linebacker Chad Muma was taken in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft by Jacksonville. Defensive end Garrett Crall (Miami), center Keegan Cryder (Tampa Bay), guard Logan Harris (Detroit) and running back Trey Smith (Jacksonville) were all signed as undrafted free agents.

“He’s very capable, he’s a bright guy, he’s watched a lot of tape,” Bohl said of Haug. “A lot of (NFL) guys you see (photos of) hanging up in the (Indoor Practice Facility), he identified those guys.”

Several transfers, including cornerbacks Harrell (Wisconsin) and Jakorey Hawkins (Mississippi) and linebacker Cole DeMarzo (Michigan State), are in the mix for starting spots or major playing time this fall.

Utah State transfer Andrew Peasley is the frontrunner to be the starting quarterback in the Aug. 27 opener at Illinois.

“It’s not a formula by any means,” Haug said of building through the portal. “That’s something where, if there’s a need, we need to explore it. If there’s not a need, high school is still where we want to be. All those things still matter to us. It’s just another piece to the puzzle of trying to make your program better.

“We’ll take advantage of it when we need guys, but predominantly we still want to get guys and develop them and do it the way we’ve done it here.”

Anderson led Southlake (Texas) High, which has recently produced five-star QB prospect Quinn Ewers (now at Texas) and former Missouri standout Chase Daniels, to a 14-1 record last season.

Drake is from Robinson, Texas, and will play for new UW defensive tackles coach Oscar Giles, a longtime assistant with the Longhorns who knows the recruiting landscape in the Lone Star State as well as anyone.

“It has been fun to see him embrace all of our guys,” Bohl said of Giles, who is living in the dorms with the freshmen during fall camp. “Coach Mack Brown and I are dear friends and close, and he and I had a long conversation about Oscar.”

UW also has verbal commitments from offensive lineman Quinn Grovesteen of Evansville, Wisconsin; running back Keany Parks of Kenosha, Wisconsin; and defensive end Tell Wade of Wray, Colorado.

Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn

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