Will Wyoming Actually Throw the Ball More in 2023?
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl didn't mince words -- his squad needs outside weapons.
That isn't exactly breaking news.
Wyoming again was one of the worst passing teams in the nation in 2022, averaging just 132.2 yards per outing through the air. That number ranks the Cowboys 125th out of 131 FBS programs. Four of the teams below in the standings -- New Mexico, Navy, Army and Air Force -- predominantly run an option offense.
"(We need) not possession receivers, but guys who really can, you know, separate," Wyoming's 10th-year head coach said during Wednesday's signing day press conference. "We're confident that we've done that."
The Cowboys plucked a pair of wideouts from the NCAA Transfer Portal, snagging speedsters Devin Boddie Jr. (Vanderbilt) and Ayir Asante (Holy Cross) who will join a returning corps that amassed just 531 yards on 45 grabs last fall and hauled in just three receiving touchdowns.
Wyoming's leading pass catcher, Joshua Cobbs, caught 35 balls for 407 yards and two scores. He entered the portal at season's end and Wednesday signed with the University of Houston.
Boddie and Asante are expected to contribute immediately, but does that mean Bohl and Co. will finally throw the ball downfield?
"You know, there's no doubt, anytime that we can see ourselves being one dimensional, that's a real challenge," Bohl said. "... We're going to need to stretch the field vertically. We're going to need to separate. But, overall, for us to win wars in the trenches, that's what's going to define us."
In Layman's terms, Bohl knows opponents are stacking the box with the lack of a threat in the passing game.
"Well, now if you have a couple of guys that can really go, that changes the dynamics," he added.
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Boddie, who has three years of eligibility remaining after spending the past four seasons in the SEC, has just 32 career catches for 324 yards and a score. His best season came in 2021 when Boddie reeled in 29 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown.
Gordie Haug, Wyoming's director of recruiting, said Wednesday the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder can fill a number of roles in the wide receiver room.
"You know, when you watch his tape -- even though some of it is limited this last season -- the year before, he had a really productive year," Haug added. "(He's) another guy who we feel can do some different things in the pass game and help us out immediately."
Asante, a graduate transfer, caught 21 balls for 458 yards and found the end zone five times last fall. The 6-foot-1, 179-pound New Jersey native has 117 receptions for 1,722 yards and has hauled in 16 touchdowns during his four-year stint in Worcester, Mass. The three-time Second Team All-Patriot League selection tacked on 701 receiving yards and six scores during his true freshman season. That earned him FCS honorable mention All-American honors.
"He had a bunch of accolades in that situation," Haug said of Asante's time at Holy Cross. "That's a program that has been producing some really good football players."
Boddie and Asante will arrive on campus in May.
Kayden LaFromboise, a wide receiver from Gillette, also signed his letter of intent Wednesday to join the Wyoming football program.
"Man, you turn his tape on and he's an athletic dude," Haug said of the 6-foot-4, 195-pound walk on from Thunder Basin High School. "... He's going to be a player."
LaFramboise was a unanimous First Team All-State selection last fall after leading the 4A Classification in receiving with 1,151 yards on 81 receptions. He also caught 13 touchdown passes. His best outing came against Cheyenne East where he snagged 16 passes for 242 yards and three scores against the T-Birds.
Wyoming will also return wideouts Wyatt Wieland (23 catches, 299 yards, TD), Will Pelissier (8 catches, 101 yards, TD), Alex Brown (6 catches, 69 yards, TD), Ryan Marquez (5 catches, 44 yards), Jaylen Sargent (2 catches, 12 yards), Caleb Merritt (1 catch, 6 yards) and Gunner Gentry, who missed the season with a knee injury. In December, the Cowboys also inked Bricen Bradley (6-foot-3, 175 pounds, Houston, Texas) and Justin Stevenson (6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Katy, Texas).
Still, the question remains -- will this team finally find balance on offense?
"The development of the trenches is important," Bohl said. "So yeah, we're going to throw the ball more, but we're still going to have that tailback back there also."