Pokes Add Depth, Speed to '08 Class

The Cowboys' 2008 recruiting class has begun to take definite shape of late. In the past three weeks, the Pokes have received commitments from a pair of tight end prospects, traded one Southern kicker for another and added plenty of speed. They also beefed up the future of their backfield without having to use a scholarship for another year…

The Cowboys won't be putting any new running backs on scholarship in 2008.

But they'll get some future backfield help anyway.

Josh Birmingham, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back from Luther, Okla. will grayshirt and enroll at Wyoming in 2009, according to an article published today by the Associated Press.

Birmingham will bring more speed to a class that got much faster during the final few weeks of recruiting. He runs a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and piled up more than 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2007, according to the AP story.

In the month of January, the Pokes got verbal commitments from James Caraway, David James and Tashaun Gipson, who will go down as three of the speediest in the '08 class. Caraway has been clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Gipson reports sub-4.5 speed, and James runs a 10.65-second 100-meter dash, according to another AP story published last month.

Additionally, Victor Valley Community College (Calif.) running back Anthony Smith transferred to Wyoming in January as a walk-on and will practice with the team throughout the spring and summer. Smith is not included as part of the Pokes' recruiting class, but he does report a 40-yard dash time of 4.4 seconds flat.

Birmingham was one of only two high school running backs to receive significant recruiting interest from the Cowboys of late. The other was Reno tailback Styker Ngongeseke, a 5-foot-10, 193-pound senior with 4.4 speed. But after making an official visit to Laramie in January and talking with coaches on a weekly basis, Ngongeseke was officially removed from the Cowboys' radar this weekend.

"Wyoming ended up not offering," he said in a text message on Saturday. "They're going with a tight end."

The Pokes actually went with two tight end prospects: Brandon Ribble of Ralston Valley High School in Arvada, Colo., who will likely suit up as an H-back at Wyoming, and Orlando Arnold of Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., who will compete for starting responsibilities at tight end next season. Ribble committed after visiting Laramie for a second time this weekend, and Arnold gave the Cowboys a verbal late last month.

Wyoming also added a kicker and a center this weekend. Nick Carlson, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound center from Arlington Heights, Ill. will join Birmingham as a grayshirt, according to the AP story. And after Texas all-state standout Ben Parks de-committed last week, UW coaches offered a scholarship to 6-foot-3, 190-pound kicker/punter Austin McCoy. The Winter Haven, Florida native made an official visit to Laramie on Friday and gave coaches a verbal commitment this weekend.

Log on later for more about both Ribble and McCoy.

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