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The Weber State University football team saw 25 student-athletes commit to the university on Wednesday as part of National Signing Day.
Bo Bolen and Helam Heimuli will rejoin the Wildcats after returning from missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bolen spent two seasons at WSU and was a two-time All-Conference player before serving a mission. WSU also signed two junior college transfers, D.J. Bush and Alfonso Medina. Along with those four, 21 high-school players committed to join WSU’s team.
Head coach Jody Sears said he was happy with the class of incoming freshmen and that he feels the new players will help WSU build a strong roster for the future.
“This was a great recruiting class for us,” Sears said. “We were able to address our needs and get players we wanted in those areas.”
Sears has added 16 players on offense and nine defensive players to the roster. Utah was the most heavily represented state, with eight players coming from inside the state. There are also six players from Florida, four from Hawaii, three from Idaho, two from California, one from Colorado and one from Nevada.
Sears said he was looking for players who not only excel on the field, but also have good character.
“We were looking for high-character players with toughness that could come in and help out our team, and we feel we got that,” he said. “Our coaches really worked hard at finding the kind of players that will fit into our system.”
WSU’s new high-school signings feature a handful of quarterbacks. One of the three new quarterbacks is Blake Barney from St. George, Utah. Barney attended Dixie High School, where he won the 3A state title as a senior. In the title game, Barney was named MVP by the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. During the past season, Barney threw for 2,805 yards and 27 touchdowns. Barney plans on serving an LDS mission before coming to WSU.
Another quarterback who will join the team is Austin Chipoletti from Jacksonville, Fla. He finished last season with 1,510 yards passing and 15 touchdowns. Chipoletti also showed last year that he can scramble in the pocket. He rushed for 295 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
WSU also signed a utility player from Hawaii. Kai Gonda had 119 rushes for 851 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Gonda also returned two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns.
The Wildcats also looked to strengthen their defensive line, signing three defensive linemen, two linebackers, a safety and a cornerback.
The most heavily represented position was wide receiver. WSU signed four new receivers, including Gabe Davis from Jacksonville, Fla. Davis played running back and receiver and also returned kicks in high school. Last season, he had 32 catches for 631 yards and eight touchdowns. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 31.7 yards per kickoff return.
Sears said he is looking forward to spring practice and the start of the upcoming season with the new class signed.
“We are excited to have these players come to Weber State and look forward to getting spring ball started,” Sears said.
The WSU soccer team also announced the signing of three players. Joining WSU are Sydnie Stokes, Kelsi Tatton and Lana Willard. All three are from northern Utah.
Head coach Tim Crompton said he is excited about the signing of the trio. He said he feels all three players have something special to offer the team and can become great players.
“We are glad to welcome these three talented local players into our Wildcat family,” Crompton said. “All three of them have the potential to be standout players. They are exciting players to watch and will make our team better and deeper.”