LARAMIE – Tell Wade is the first player committed to the 2023 recruit class in Wyoming.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect is excited to be the second player from Wray, Colorado, a rural town of about 2,400 on the Plains nine miles west of Nebraska, to be defended for the Cowboys .
Wade is following in the footsteps of linebacker Weston Johnson, a 2009 UW team captain who died in 2014 after a two-year battle with cancer.
“I have quite a bit of contact with his father, Blane,” Wade said. “It’s pretty special. He was pretty excited. … Blane and Jill, his parents, we had dinner and we’re friends.”
UW defensive ends coach Marty English recruited Johnson in 2005 during the Joe Glenn era and has found another potential gem of Wray in Wade.
Front-range rivals Air Force and Colorado State also offered Wade a scholarship, but he made a verbal commitment to UW head coach Craig Bohl after attending the Brown and Gold Game on April 30 at War Memorial Stadium.
“I love the small-town feel of Laramie,” said Wade, who also received an offer from the state of New Mexico. “All the coaches are just super nice. I mean coach Bohl, I really like him. Of all the coaches I’ve spoken to so far, he’s definitely my favourite. Then Coach English, I’ve developed a pretty good relationship with him.
“I just decided I wanted to commit, so I did.”
Wade, who plays both offensive tackle and defensive end for Wray High, has 20 sacks and 35.5 tackles for losses entering his senior season. He also finished second in the Colorado State Wrestling Championships at 285 pounds and competes in the long jump, shot put, and sprints on the track team.
Johnson received All-State honors in football, basketball, baseball and track for Wray High before signing with UW 17 years ago. The Cowboys recruited Wade as a defensive end.
“I just want to keep getting better, keep working with my team and my coaches to be more explosive and faster,” Wade said. “I want to help my team win the national championship. That is this year’s goal.”
The NCAA transfer portal dominated the FBS-level news cycle during the offseason, with the Pokes losing 15 players and adding eight since the end of the 2021 campaign.
Bohl still plans to maintain the base of the program with high school recruits. Wade, a two-star prospect like Johnson, has gotten UW off to a strong start this cycle.
“I think it’s pretty cool to be first,” Wade said. “When coach Bohl called me the night before and offered to go there, I just told him that I wanted to do it personally. So I ended up sitting in an office and telling them face to face I was coming. I found that quite special.”
Perhaps Wade will be a future winner of the Never Flinch Award, presented annually by the Pokes in memory of Johnson. All-American linebacker Chad Muma was this year’s receiver.
Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn