Vandals sign 18 on NLI Day

WITH HIS FOURTH RECRUITING CLASS Idaho head coach Paul Petrino and crew again cast a net coast-to-coast to continue the rebuilding job they began with the 2013 class. Unlike previous classes which were heavily weighted towards junior college prospects, this year's class is focused on high school prospects and is centered around restocking the Vandal defensive line for 2016 and the years ahead.

Wednesday afternoon Idaho announced its 2016 recruiting class. The day was punctuated by the fax machine delivering 18 signed letters of intent. These 18 join three mid-year signees and five grayshirts who signed with Idaho as part of last year's recruiting class and delayed their enrollment until last month, bringing Idaho's total group of newcomers to 26 recruits.

The class is heavily focused on the defensive side of the ball, with particular attention being paid to rebuilding the defensive front line and linebacking corps. Idaho lost serious front-seven production to graduation this year, so significant battles across the Vandal front is expected this spring and fall.

All 26 of Idaho's new recruits are listed below, starting with the NLI Day signees, followed by the mid-year transfers, and then concluding with the grayshirts. Links to our Scout player page for each athlete is listed below (these pages are under construction as we populate bios and data over the coming days and weeks).

Many of the freshmen recruits will have an opportunity to earn immediate playing time this fall, depending on how they continue preparing in the coming months and arrive at Idaho this summer ready to compete. Within the Sun Belt Conference Idaho's class ranks 8th (buoyed by three 3-star prospects in Wills, Thigpen and Akanno), ahead of NMSU, Georgia State and UL-M (Georgia Southern paced the conference with nine 3-star signees). The tale of the tape with the class won't really be known for a couple of years -- football is a developmental team sport in the end. But Idaho came out on top in several recruiting battles, including edging out UTEP in the 11th hour to sign athlete Chris Hunter.

Most importantly, the Idaho coaching staff did a thorough job addressing every position on the team's depth chart with this class.



The following three athletes signed with Idaho in December and have already enrolled at Idaho and will be training with the team in spring drills. Of special note in this group is Noah Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 301-pound offensive lineman who graduated from high school a semester early and played in the Blue/Grey All-American Bowl at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium (representing the East team, game played December 22, 2015).


The following five athletes are all enrolled at Idaho now and will be participating with the team in spring drills. Ideally kicker Cade Coffey will be able to redshirt this season then take over for All-American senior-to-be Austin Rehkow next year. Uber athlete Tarik Littlejohn is moving to the Vandal defensive backfield this off-season, while trench warriors Mytreal Denson (defensive line), Conner Vrba (offensive line) and Joe Wysocki (tightend) will start honing their skills this spring. All will be competing for immediate playing time this fall.

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