Vandals Sign 20 New Recruits

Today Idaho received Letters of Intent from 20 recruits from around the nation, including two from the state of Idaho. The class also consists of three junior college transfers, with two on campus and preparing for spring camp, including quarterback BRIAN READER (6-3, 215). Overall, the class stretches from South Carolina to Hawaii, with a focus on defensive backs, quarterbacks, and team speed.

The 2009 University of Idaho football recruiting class is comprised of 20 National Letter of Intent signees: Three from the junior college ranks and 17 high school seniors. The class hails from across the country, including two linebacker signees from the great state of Idaho. In addition, the rest of the class is drawn from California (5), Washington (4), Nevada (3), Arizona (3), Texas (2), and one each from South Carolina, Nevada, Mississippi, and Hawaii.

Overall the class is balanced, with virtually every position being recruited, including several recruits who could contribute at numerous positions. Included are a couple players ranked nationally by and others (linebackers Conrad Scheidt #81 and Jared Heston #82).

The focus this year was clearly boosting overall team speed, and Idaho made significant strides with the defensive backfield, linebacking unit and wide receiver recruits (forty times are listed with several players below).

Coach Akey and staff went head-to-head in recruiting battles with teams from the Mountain West Conference, Conference-USA, and within the WAC, and came away on top on a number of occasions (players with other Division 1A offers are listed below).

The biggest LOI day "surprise" happened when two junior college athletes, Kevin Williams and Michael Lindsey, verballed to Idaho in the last week then decommitted and signed with South Florida (Big East) and Memphis (Conference-USA), respectively. Williams, who signed with South Florida as a high school senior, had verballed to three teams this recruiting season (Memphis, Hawaii, and Idaho), and Lindsey signed with the Memphis team he originally committed to last summer. In years past, Idaho was on the receiving end of signing day surpises, such as Andre Ferguson changing his commitment from Arizona State to Idaho (2007), Quin Ashley changing his commitment from TCU to Idaho (2007), and Charles Smith changing from San Diego State to Idaho on LOI Day (2008).

It happens, and it is why it is a "verbal" commitment until the LOI is signed.

Below is a link to Idaho's OFFICIAL Press Release on the class:


Below is a summary of the class, with information on each player drawn from reports, the Official UI Press Release, and other sources. The junior college signees are presented first, followed by the high school recruits (both groups are organized in alphabetical order).

Idaho received letters of intent from three junior college athletes, and two of them are currently enrolled and in Moscow preparing for spring drills.

Tevita Halaholo
6-5, 358, Offensive Line
College of San Mateo
(Oakland, Calif.)

  • JC Grid-Wire All-American (2007)
  • Football Coaches All-American
  • All-California Region 1
  • Preseason JC Gridwire All-American
  • First Team All Nor-Cal

Two years ago, in 2007, as a true sophomore Halaholo won almost every honor possible for a junior college offensive lineman, headlined by being named a JC Gridwire All American. He signed with Tulsa after the 2007 season, but an issue in the transfer process prevented his enrollment. He returned to the College of San Mateo last year, redshirted, and worked out with the team all season (benches 350 and squats 450). His JC coach told the following: "Tavita did an outstanding job. We have one of the top offensive running games, and a big reason was because of him. He's a big, dominating guy, but he's also one of the best people I've been around. He sat out this year but he came to practice, worked hard, got in pads and was not only a player for us to help out, but also he was a coach. He never miss a practice. He's just an outstanding young man." With the graduation of three senior starters off last year's offensive line, Halaholo (6-5, 358) will get his shot at making an immediate impact.

Brian Reader
6-3, 220, Quarterback
Monterey Peninsula JC
(Salinas, Calif.)

As a freshman at MPC, threw for 2,500 yards and 20 TDs in leading the Lobos to a 10-0 regular-season record and Coast Conference title … earned Coast Conference Player of the Year honors and was an all-Region II choice … played in the Junior College All-American game … out of high school, redshirted for one season at Arkansas before transferring to Monterey Peninsula … he told the Monterey County Herald, "I believe the area fits the person who I am. I love the outdoors. …. I fit (Idaho's) system with naked bootlegs and rollouts. … I'm not a city person. It's a college town. I like people know who you are. It's a good change from what I've seen in the past." … at Palma High School, he started only one year but broke several school records in passing for 2,411 yards and 19 TDs as he completed 64 percent of his passes … Tri-County Athletic League MVP and All-League quarterback … on the Monterey County Herald All-Monterey County Football team and was chosen by the Salina Californian as the Monterey County Offensive Player of the Year.

Korey Toomer
6-2, 225, Linebacker
Arizona Western College (Las Vegas, NV)

OFFERS: Nevada, Colorado State

Two-year starter at linebacker … as a sophomore, had 24 solo stops and 62 assists for 86 total tackles … forced one fumble and had three interceptions … had 8.5 tackles for loss for -27 yards … as a freshman, had 11 solo stops and 33 assists for 44 total tackles … also had 3.5 tackles for loss (-12 yards), one sack and two forced fumbles … said his JC coach Tom Minnick: "Korey's a kid that can run, he can chase you down. The good thing about Korey is he can cover. … He's the type of kid you want in your program. His parents did a great job with him, and he doesn't get into trouble. He's a kid that will be at practice every day and do what you tell him. That's the kind of kid you want to coach." … initially signed with Idaho as a senior at Shadow Ridge High School … at Shadow Ridge in 2006, he was a two-way starter at tight end and linebacker … he had 88 tackles and eight sacks … was a first team All-Northwest Division and All-Sunset Conference selection.

Idaho received letters of intent from 17 high school seniors, including Nevada's sack leader, a Texas Class 4A All-State selection, a three-time All South Carolina selection, and Idaho's Inland Empire Defensive Player of the Year.

Jeffrey Bediako
6-3, 228, 4.46-40, Linebacker
Boise High School (Boise, Idaho/Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

For Boise High School senior Jeffrey Bediako (pronounced Bee-Dee-ah-ko), the opportunity at Idaho is an opportunity to fulfill his goal to come to America less than a year ago and earn a college football scholarship. For Idaho, it is an opportunity to develop a raw athlete with a 6-3, 228-pound frame and a stellar 4.46-forty. In one season at Boise High he was named a First-Team All-Southern Idaho Conference selection … 38 tackles, two quarterback hurries, one pass deflection … also played tight end … played at Boise High after moving to Idaho from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as a high school senior … at the time of his commitment to the Vandals, Boise High coach Bob Clark told the media, "He takes a lot of athleticism to Idaho. His east-west speed on the field is great and he'll add a lot to their defense. … I think two or three years from now, he'll be a very special football player, because right now he's still learning the game."

Tracy Carter
5-11, 170, Defensive Back
Madison High School (Mesquite, Texas)

11-3A First-team all-district cornerback as a senior and second team as a junior … two year-starter at Madison High and three-year letterman . as a senior, had four interceptions and 15 passes defensed … also a standout track athlete … on Madison's 4x400 state championship team … regional qualifier in the hurdles … said coach Marcus Gates: "Tracy has an innate ability to make plays on the football. He's very athletic and he's very competitive. … He won two games for us. He covered the best receivers and he shut them down. … He makes plays on the football. You really can't teach that. … You're getting a great kid – not only a great athlete but a great kid."

Taylor Davis
6-3, 191, Quarterback
Boulder Creek High School (Anthem, AZ)

Northwest Region Offensive Player of the Year … All-State selection … first-team all region after throwing for 2,357 yards and 26 TDs … completed 64 percent of his passes as a senior … as a junior, threw for 855 yards and nine TDs … as a junior, was second-team Northwest Region … was in the final four of 48 original players from 17 states at the EA Sports Quarterback Camp at Las Vegas … finished second in the accuracy competition at the EA camp … the EA Sports Elite 11 recap had this: "Davis might be the top QB prospect in Arizona this class. … has plus arm strength, a good setup and delivery and was obviously quite accurate all day long." … 2008 team, which was only in its third year of existence, advanced to second round of playoffs … in a website article, he said: "When I took the visit, I verballed to Idaho. … The coaches were like family – they seemed liked they really cared. And the program just seemed really cool. I want to build the program."

Taylor Elmo
6-3, 220, Athlete
Eisenhower High School (Yakima, WA)

Seattle Times Red Chip prospect … honorable mention all-Big Nine quarterback as a senior … all-league selection at linebacker as a sophomore … starting quarterback at Eisenhower as a junior and senior … also started at safety … in two seasons, threw for 2,380 yards and 23 TDs … also rushed for 1,631 yards and 16 TDs … said Elmo after committing to the Vandals, "The whole setting seemed right for me. The school size is good, and the older players were real positive about the program." … Ron Siegel's all-state senior team as a defensive back.

Aaron Grymes
5-11, 170, 4.40-40, Defensive Back
West Seattle High School (Seattle, WA)

As a junior, Metro Sound Division Offensive MVP after helping West Seattle High to Class 3A state-playoff qualifying round … injured as a senior and missed middle part of season but came back to be part of West Seattle's post-season play, which resulted in three playoff victories … fifth as a junior in state 3A 100 meters with a 10.8 … said coach Davis Lura in an earlier newspaper article: "He works his butt off in the weight room twice a day. … His biggest strength is his football IQ. He understands all the pieces that are on the field. Most kids just understand what they're supposed to do, but he gets it all." … originally committed to the University of Washington (de-committed in late January) … 4.4 40 speed … said Grimes in an article after choosing Idaho: "I feel like I have a knack for where the ball is – I can always find the ball and be the first on there. … I definitely wanted to be somewhere where I felt wanted and where I was going to be able to play." … 3.70 grade-point average … plans to major in Business … 2008 University of Washington summer camp MVP.

Jared Heston
6-1, 220, Linebacker
Lake City High School (Coeur d'Alene, ID)

Ranked No. 82 SLB in America

Inland Empire League Defensive Player of the Year … All-Idaho first-team linebacker … senior-team all-IEL running back … all-North Idaho first-team defense … as a senior, had 85 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, three pass deflections and eight QB hurries … two-way starter as a senior and junior … also punted and was team's placekicker … as a junior, earned first-team All-North Idaho on defense … No. 5 overall prospect in Idaho by … after committing in August, he was quoted: "I really like it (at Idaho). It just feels like home being so close by and everything." … coach Van Troxel said in a newspaper interview: "We've had some great linebackers, but I'd rank Jared at the top. Whether it's in games or practice, he steps up and whacks people. He's what a linebacker is supposed to be. … We rely on him to be our defensive leader. On offense he's kind of become our glue. When things need to be settled down offensively, we go to Jared. … I'm really excited for him (to go to Idaho), because I think it's a great fit. He'll have an opportunity to get out there and play." … as a youngster, he set the national age-group record (10-under) in the 50-meter breaststroke (he gave up competitive swimming after his sophomore season because of time constraints … the age-group record, set in 2001, still stands.

Clayton Homme
6-5, 200, Tightend
Southridge High School (Kennewick, WA)

CBBN Columbia Division MVP as a senior … played receiver and defensive back … team was undefeated during the regular season … Seattle Times Red Chip player … Associated Press all-state honorable mention for class 4A … as a junior, was first-team all-Columbia Basin League … as a junior, had 27 receptions for 355 yards and eight TDs … during the regular season of his senior year, had 37 receptions for 481 yards and five TDs … had 610 total yards and six total TDs … also has six interceptions and 30 tackles … also plays basketball and baseball … said coach Andy Troxel in an earlier article: "Clayton is a great young man who has worked very hard on and off the field to get to where he is at. He will have a great opportunity at Idaho to play and get a quality education." … said Homme after his visit to Idaho: "I like the campus a lot. I'm from a small town myself, and it's kinda got that small town atmosphere. It's not too big, but it's not too small. I think I'll fit in great there."

Jordan Johnson
6-5, 306, Offensive Line
Santiago High School (Corona, CA)

Ranked No. 94 OT in America

All Big Eight first team … All-Riverside County first team … Press-Enterprise all-area team … first-team all-California Interscholastic Federation Inland Division … all-CIF Southern Section … started 26 successive games … two-year starter … team captain … benches 335 and completed 43 reps at 225 pounds in the power clean … Jordan said the graduation in Idaho's offensive line provides an early playing possibility and the School of Business is appealing.

Vince Keener
6-4, 220, Deefensive End
Westview High School (Avondale, AZ)

OFFERS: Air Force

As a senior, earned all-Arizona recognition during Westview's run to its second successive state championship game appearance … also a two-time selection to the all-West Phoenix Region and an all-West Valley honoree … was listed among the top 50 in Arizona in 24/7 magazine … as a senior, had 108 tackles (fifth all-time at Westview) , five sacks (third all-time at Westview), 15 tackles for loss and 16 QB hurries … as a junior, second-team all-region after registering 87 tackles, 17 QB hurries and 3.5 sacks.

Michael LaGrone
6-2, 215, 4.64-40, H-Back/Tightend
McQueen High School (Reno, NV)

Led Nevada with 17 sacks as senior

Led Nevada high schoolers with 17 sacks as a senior in 2008 … two-way starter (also a tight end) for state championship McQueen High School (14-0) … as a senior, also had 54 total tackles and 24 tackles for loss … first team Class 4A All-State defensive end and first team all-Northern Region and High Desert League defensive end … earned second team all-Northern Region honors and first team all-Desert League recognition as a tight end during his senior year … had 22 receptions … as a junior, was Northern Nevada Defensive Player of the Year as well as first-team all-state … of his decision to come to Idaho, LaGrone said in an earlier interview: "The school has a lot to offer. It was my first trip, and it was a great experience. Certainly the whole college life. They have a lot of programs that are real good. I'm thinking about music as one of my majors, or sports medicine. They put the whole music thing in my view, so it was cool. The team was real cool too."

Kyle Salm
6-6, 273, Offensive Line
San Dimas High School (San Dimas, CA)

All-California Interscholastic Federation Mid-Valley Division first team … all-Inland Valley first team … all-Valle Vista League first team … Gabriel Valley Tribune all-area first team … blocked in an offense that averaged 341 rushing yards per game … 4.2 grade-point average … said coach Bill Zernickow, "He's been healthy and dominant."

Conrad Scheidt
6-0, 207, 4.70-40, Linebacker
Kamehameha High School (Waianae, HI)

Ranked No. 81 MLB in America
OFFERS: Arizona, Hawaii, Army

One of Idaho's top prospects this year, Scheidt already reports a bench press of 405 pounds and a squat of 365 as a senior. Because of his combination of strength and speed – as well as his nose for the football – his natural position in highschool was at Rover. "I played linebacker at the beginning of the season, because Kamehameha was having some injuries for a couple of games, and then I moved back to Rover." He'll come in as an inside linebacker for the Vandals. Asked to describe his strengths, Scheidt said, "If anything, I have good sideline-to-sideline speed, I have good closing speed, and I guess I hit hard." 2008 ILH Football All-Star second team … Hawai`i All-Star Football Classic selection … after committing to Idaho, Scheidt was quoted: "I mean I love the small town atmosphere. I like that you're able to connect with everyone in the community and it's a real good football town. … Idaho is where I want to be."

Michael Terry
LB, 6-1, 225, 4.52-40
Angleton High School (Rosharon, TX)

OFFERS: Arizona State

At Angleton (Tex.) High School, Michael Terry - a Team Captain - was the team's starting defensive end, which is more of a hybrid linebacker / defensive end combination, as well as a Team Captain and an often used "power" runningback. Sporting a bench of 335, a squat of 450, and a 4.52 forty, he was a menace for opposing offenses. Earlier this month Terry was named a First Team All-District 24 pick (DE), and in December Terry was also named an Class 4A Associated Press All-State Honorable Mention selection (DL). Once he committed to the Vandals, Terry described his trip and prospects in an online story. "I loved it. It felt like family down there, and the coaches made me feel wanted. I like how the whole town was about football. Everybody down there, in all the windows, you see the "Go Vandals" and stuff. I like that, the support from the town."

Justin Veltung
5-11, 175, 4.39-40, Wide Receiver
Puyallup High School (Puyallup, WA)

As a senior, was first team all-South Puget Sound League as a receiver, defensive back and kick returner … SPSL Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior and senior … Tacoma News Tribune all-area return specialist … had 19 receptions for 481 yards and 944 all-purpose yards despite missing part of the season with injury … also, all-state selection and SPSL MVP as a soccer forward … ran track as a freshman (10.8 100) and plans to run it again this spring … recorded a 4.39 40 – the best time at the Spanaway Competitive Edge Combine … said his coach Tom Ingles: "Any time he has the ball in his hands, he's got the speed to outrun anyone on the field. … Justin is an incredible athlete. He runs extremely well, has great balance, great hands."

Gary Walker
6-0, 190, 4.51-40, Safety
Redlands East Valley (Redlands, CA)

OFFERS: Fresno State, Oregon State

Two-way starter as a senior … all-California Interscholastic League Inland Division selection at defensive back … also played receiver … as a senior, had 464 yards receiving on 27 receptions and scored four touchdowns; 71 tackles, four interceptions (two for TDs); returned three punts for TDs, and carried the ball 42 times for 294 yards and one TD … as a junior, 22 receptions for 302 yards and three TDs; 88 tackles and three interceptions; averaged 22.1 yards per punt return; had 42 carries for 381 yards and four TDs; 8-for 17 passing for 238 yards and eight TDs … REV MVP as a junior and senior … also team captain as a junior and senior and led team in interceptions both years … high school teammate of Idaho linebacker Andre Ferguson … of his decision and his trip to Moscow, Walker was quoted as saying: "I really enjoyed myself while I was out there. I really liked the coaches along with the players, so I could see myself out there and playing for coach Akey. That's how I made my decision. … I liked the weight room - the weight room to me is really important, to have a nice weight room; so that really caught my attention. I could see myself working out in there. And I liked the big dome, the Kibbie Dome was great. It was really nice."

Denzell Wedgeworth
WR, 5-10 190
Hemingway High School (Hemingway, SC)

Three-time all-state selection … two-time all-Pee Dee choice … three-time all-region player … WPDE-TV Player of the Week twice – after games against Johnsonville and Carvers Bay … Hemingway MVP three years … during his career, accounted for 2,507 yards rushing and 28 rushing TDs; 3, 072 yards passing and 26 TDs; 557 yards receiving and three TD receptions, and 64 tackles and seven interceptions (three returned for TDs) defensively.

Trey Williams
DB, 6-2, 200
Leflore County High School (Itta Bena, MS)

Four-year letterman … 3.5 grade-point average … as a senior, rushed for 1,900 yards and 23 TDs .. as a junior, rushed for 700 yards and 12 TDs … played two ways as a sophomore and rushed for 500 yards and nine TDs along with defensively accounting for 60 tackles and 20 tackles for loss … was a 2A all-state running back … second in state 2A in 110-meter hurdles with an Accutrack time of 14.1 … member of 2A state 4x100 championship team … interested in Architecture as a major … lists hobby as chasing quail (he's caught four).

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