OGDEN — Ron McBride wants to make one thing perfectly clear. He may be entering the final year of his current contract at Weber State, but he has no intentions of letting the 2008 football season be his last with the Wildcats.

"I'm not going anywhere," McBride said.

In fact, his latest recruiting class indicates he's building for a longer run at WSU than some might have expected. With 17 recruits pledging to join the Wildcats, McBride placed an emphasis on youth, especially in the trenches.

"A big need was in the defensive front," McBride said. "We signed two players in Caldwell Taylor (returned missionary from Bear River High) and Joe Larson (first team all conference at Butte JC) who will be with us for spring ball and we have four others who gray shirted, giving us six players, which is a big help because they are all young players, and I think it's a real impact group."

Three more linemen, Ryan Eastman from Hawaii, Pierre Alexander out of Oklahoma City and Oregon product Demetri Enesi "are three really talented freshmen each of whom has a really bright future ahead of them," McBride said.

Of the 17 new players, only four come from a junior college and one of those, kicker Jon Williams, will be a sophomore.

That commitment to recruiting younger players, McBride said, was done because he wants to stick around and see them develop rather than try to make a big splash now at the expense of future seasons.

But he still intends to make that big splash in 2008 if possible.

"We were limited in our scholarship allotment so we were very specific about who we signed," McBride said. "Within those constraints we were able to bring in some quality players and fill some pressing needs at key positions."

Offensive lineman Nestor Cruz is one of the JC transfers and is on campus now and should battle for a starting positions. vacated by departing seniors

Another immediate impact player might be receiver Joe Collins out of Monterey Peninsula JC.

As usual, McBride found a handful of hidden gems in the Beehive State.

Out of Utah, Bountiful's Jamie Rigby was a first-team all-state defensive back. Layton offensive lineman Justin Turner helped pave the way for the Lancers' powerful running game and Joel Hancock threw for 40 touchdowns and 3,500 yards as a senior at Fremont back in 2004 before serving an LDS mission.

"I know we all say it, but I think we did pretty well," McBride said.

The Wildcats may still sign a few more players or accept a couple of drop-down transfers from other schools.

Head of the class — Ryan Eastman, DL

Immediate impact — Joe Collins, WR

Near miss — Keno Meadows, RB

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