Freshman running back Eric Wilkes (31) celebrates after scoring his first career touchdown in the Wildcats' home opener last season. Of the Wildcats 32 new recruits signed on Wednesday, 28 of them will be freshmen this season with the team.  (Lichelle Jenkins / The Signpost)
Freshman running back Eric Wilkes (31) celebrates after scoring his first career touchdown in the Wildcats’ home opener last season. Of the Wildcats 32 new recruits signed on Wednesday, 28 of them will be freshmen this season with the team.
(Lichelle Jenkins / The Signpost)

The Weber State University football team gained more potential on Wednesday as coach Jay Hill signed 32 new players to the team roster for the 2015 season.

In just his second year with the program, Hill followed up his first recruiting class with another large class.

“I am super excited for this signing class, as every coach is on this day,” Hill said. “I really love the talent that we have signed as a program and (am excited) for what they will help bring for us this next season. There’s no way of knowing what you really have until you get them here and get them playing, but I cannot wait for the opportunity to to try these new kid out.”

The players come from all walks of life and hail from areas as close as Clearfield and as far away as Texas and Washington. Four of the 32 players are junior college transfers with the other 28 set to be freshmen at WSU in the fall. The team had success recruiting in-state; they signed 19 athletes from Utah high schools.

From the local group there are several standouts. Tyler Hinds from Davis High School played as a safety for former WSU quarterback and now Davis head coach Tyler Gladwell. During his career, Hinds recorded 131 tackles and four interceptions for the team, garnering all-state honors for himself. As one of five children he comes from a family with a football pedigree and has an older brother, Troy, who is a freshman linebacker for BYU.

Nate Heaps was a starting tight end for American Fork High School and helped lead his team to finish as the runner up for the 2014 Utah 5A State Championships. During his senior year he earned all-state honors and was named the Offensive MVP at the all-poly camp, a local high school football event where scouts and coaches from various colleges help prepare high school athletes for playing at the collegiate level.

The football team recruited heavily among offensive linemen as almost one-quarter of the signing class were offensive linemen. Two of them, juniors Connor Shannon and Calvin Steyn from California, are coming off of successful junior college careers. Steyn was a starter for two years and received First Team All-Conference honors as well as regional honors, and was named as the Orange Empire Conference Lineman of the Year. Shannon was a starter for two years at Fresno City College and will be at spring training with the team this year.

“In the end, it doesn’t matter how many players you sign on signing day,” said coach Hill. “What matters the most is getting them on the campus and helping them to perform. That means that they have to not only be NCAA qualified, (they also should be) mentally and physically prepared for what comes in the fall. There is still a lot to be done with these players, and for us coaches that is what we must do next.”

Charles can be found tweeting @cbowkstar_91 or cheering like a fool at Wildcat Athletic events

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