Cowboys Get Another Quarterback Commitment

Cowboys Get Another Quarterback Commitment

Wyoming's passers continue to grow in number. The Pokes landed yet another commitment at the signal-caller position today when Arizona JUCO star Dax Crum gave offensive coordinator Bob Cole a verbal to play football next season. The Cowboys now have a slew of contenders vying for starting responsibilities. But how many actually have a realistic shot at earning the job? Just two, if you ask Crum…

The field of competitors is expanding, and the job is wide open.

But for Dax Crum, the offseason skirmish to earn Wyoming's starting quarterback spot is already down to a two-horse race.

"Me and Karsten (Sween) are probably going to battle it out for the starting job," Crum told CowboyBlitz.com today, moments after giving the Pokes a verbal commitment to play football next season.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound prospect had been receiving heavy interest from both Wyoming and Washington State, but a visit to Laramie last Saturday helped seal the deal for the Cowboys.

"I like Laramie," he said. "Also there's a fabulous engineering school, and I'm an engineer so that was very important for me."

The Pokes' new indoor practice facility also impressed the Mesa Community College (Ariz.) prospect, and he liked the idea of playing against Tennessee next season.

But Crum said what really drew him to the Cowboy State was the opportunity to play right away.

"They (UW coaches) weren't real excited about their quarterback play last year, so they wanted some competition," he said. "I know I can come up there and play…and compete."

Crum led Mesa CC to a 9-2 record in 2007 (9-1 as a starter) and a 47-31 victory over Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College in the Valley of the Sun Bowl.

"He's a great leader. He does a wonderful job of controlling the offense and being able to execute," said Crum's JUCO head coach Dan Dunn. "He's physically exactly what they (UW coaches) are looking for."

Crum completed 61 percent of his passes in 2007 for 2,459 yards and 24 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

"He threw four touchdown passes in the bowl game and threw four touchdown passes in the last game of the year," Dunn said. "He's just very competent, probably the best I've coached at that position in the 41 years I've been coaching.

"He's made a world of difference in our team this year."

He would like to do the same for the Cowboys, who finished the '07 season with four straight losses while watching Sween, their starting quarterback, throw 17 interceptions and just 12 touchdowns.

"I was 9-1 as a starter this year, and that's pretty good considering last year Mesa was only 2-7," Crum said. "That's the type of turnaround that I want to have going on at Wyoming."

Along with Sween, the Cowboys return '07 redshirt freshman Chris Stutzriem, one of the highest-rated high school quarterback to come out of the state of Oklahoma in 2006, and rising senior Ian Hetrick, who started one game for UW in '07 and threw for 211 yards and two interceptions on the season.

Crum's verbal is the second the team has received at the quarterback position for 2008, the first coming from three-star California high school standout Adam Barry, who committed to the Pokes on Dec. 14.

Still, other than Sween, Crum doesn't anticipate the rest of the unit providing much competition for the starting spot this offseason.

"That's basically what I've been told," he said. "I mean, obviously if that kid (Barry) comes in and he's a really good player, if he's better than me and Karsten, he'll play. I just don't think that that's going to happen."

Tagged by Scout.com as one of the most improved high school quarterbacks in the state of Arizona between his junior and senior years, Crum originally committed to Arizona State but transferred to Mesa CC when Dennis Erickson replaced Dirk Koetter as the head coach of the Sun Devils.

"Once we got Coach Erickson, he brought his quarterbacks that were committed to him at Idaho, and I could just read the writing on the wall," Crum said. "I was going to have to sit for at least two years. Rudy Carpenter (a junior in ‘07) is the starter, and I said, ‘You know, I want to play somewhere.' So I went and transferred to Mesa, had a good year, and now it's working out great because I can go to Wyoming."

With the hiring of Bob Cole as the Cowboys' replacement for former offensive coordinator Bill Cockhill, the team's quarterbacks—both current and incoming—will have a new system to learn, and Crum views his experience playing in multiple offenses as his best asset.

"I've learned a lot," he said. "From a mental aspect, a lot of kids come out of high school and their biggest things (to improve) aren't physical. It's mental. It's learning systems and learning how to read defenses and stuff, and that's my biggest strength right now. When a guy talks about maturity and becoming a more mature quarterback, that's a process I've already been going through.

"I had a system in high school, and then I had Coach Koetter's system, and then he got fired at ASU, and then I had Coach Erickson's system at ASU, and then I transferred to Mesa and I had Coach (Mike) Jacob's system, an Ohio State guy. So right there, that's three major programs: Ohio State, Coach Erickson's still running the same stuff he ran when he won a national championship, and then coach Koetter's system is a fabulous system. You can just look at (the) Jacksonville (Jaguars) and at how good they are now that he's their offensive coordinator. I've been in all those systems and been able to handle it, so coming into Wyoming with a new offensive coordinator, I view that as a huge advantage. I can adjust to that."

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