Weber State football: Wildcats ink a whopping 34 players on national signing day

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5 2014 10:45 p.m. MST

Weber State Wildcats  special teams coach  Ryan Smaha celebrates a touchdown during NCAA football in Ogden  Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Weber State Wildcats special teams coach Ryan Smaha celebrates a touchdown during NCAA football in Ogden Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

OGDEN — With a new head coach and a lot of newly signed players, it’s safe to say the Weber State Wildcats are looking forward.

After posting a dismal 4-19 record over the last two seasons, Weber State tried to make a splash with its 2014 recruiting class. Newly acquired coach Jay Hill announced on national signing day Wednesday afternoon that the Wildcats signed 34 players.

“We are really excited and pleased with the players we have signed,” Hill said. “We were able to get two or three players at every position that can come in and help us. Getting players out of the state of Utah is also a priority for us. We felt there was a really good class from Utah this year and we were able to get a lot of them.”

Twenty-one of the 34 signees are from the state of Utah, and Hill is very excited to bring them into the Wildcat program.

“I thought it was an outstanding (Utah) class,” said Hill. “Each year in the state of Utah, there are going to be five or six Pac-12 guys, and after that, there is a really good crop of 20-25 kids that have legit chances of playing Division I football. That’s what we targeted; that’s what we went after; and that’s what we got.”

This year’s class features 17 players on defense and 17 on offense, which should bring plenty of balance and depth to Weber State’s roster.

Hill specifically expressed Weber State’s desperate need of linemen on both sides of the ball, and as a result, he locked up a total of six offensive linemen and six defensive linemen in an attempt to fill the gaping holes in the trenches and give his quarterback protection.

“We’ve got to replace a couple of O-linemen that can really solidify our team and should have an immediate impact,” Hill added. “If we can fill one or two holes there, I think we have a chance to be very good.”

Weber State has taken huge strides to revamp its football program in the offseason and Hill is extremely pleased with the direction the Wildcats are going.

With the majority of last year’s team returning and the addition of 34 newly signed players, Hill believes the ‘Cats will be able to make some noise in the Big Sky Conference next year.

Between all the coaching changes and recruiting new players, Hill emphasized his immediate expectations to not only compete, but to turn his program around and win.

“We expect to be good right away, starting with next year,” said Hill. “I like the team we currently have, and coupled with the holes that we are going to fill, I like how the upcoming class fits into this. ... We are very excited. It’s a good mix of just talent across the board.”

Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012. Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724 EMAIL: rlove@deseretnews.com

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