| 03.20.2018

College football Christmas


Petrino inks 28 on National Signing Day

Sean Kramer | Argonaut First-year Idaho coach Paul Petrino announced his first recruiting class on National Letter of Intent Day Wednesday in the Kibbie Dome.

Sean Kramer | Argonaut
First-year Idaho coach Paul Petrino announced his first recruiting class on National Letter of Intent Day Wednesday in the Kibbie Dome.

New Idaho coach Paul Petrino introduced his first recruiting class as head coach of Idaho Wednesday afternoon, welcoming 28 new Vandals into the program. The number included eight junior college players who enrolled in spring semester, and 20 others who will join them in the fall.

Petrino arrived at Idaho in December and has since hit the ground running, assembling a full class he expects to be the cornerstone of the program moving forward.

“It’s been crazy, but it’s fun. I was just talking to my brother the other night on the phone. If you look back at Louisville and Arkansas, our first classes were our best classes,” he said. “Sign the best guys you can find, you don’t over-analyze it and you get your best class. Really that first year you just go by what you see on tape.”

Petrino hit multiple areas of need, signing five linebackers, three defensive backs, four running backs and three quarterbacks.

The three quarterbacks were particularly interesting, considering in an earlier meeting with the media Petrino said he was looking to sign two.

Signing three quarterbacks, Petrino explains, increases the odds that Idaho

hits the bulls-eye with its signal caller.

“You watch basketball, if you don’t have a point guard you’re going to lose games. You watch football, if you don’t have a quarterback you’re going to lose games,” Petrino said. “So I just made the odds a little better. Instead of just taking one of them and missing, I took two of them so my odds are better that one of them is going to be a great player and we’re going to win, along with the kids we have on campus.”

High school quarterback recruit Matthew Linehan, son of former Idaho quarterback Scott Linehan, joins junior college signees Anthony Neyer and Joshua McCain in the class.

McCain is the junior college prospect Petrino had his eyes on the entire way, but was unsure if he was going to be able to nab him.

“There was a time in our recruiting where I wasn’t sure if I was going to get him, to be honest with you,” he said. “Around the mid-year section so I made sure we got Anthony (Neyer). So I just made my odds higher to make sure we end up with a good quarterback.”

Idaho had to fend off Nevada for one of its more highly touted recruits. Two-star rated by Scout.com, cornerback Armond Hawkins took an official visit with the Wolf Pack over the weekend, but ended up signing with Idaho.

“Nevada got our commitment list and just tried to steal them all late. They were on the phone all night long with Isaiah Saunders. That happens, that’s part of coaching,” Petrino said. “It’s one of those you’re calling them back and forth all night long, we got the fax and they didn’t. That’s a good thing for us.”

Idaho kept it in the family with this recruiting class, as it did with its coaching staff. Saunders, Linehan, and Zach Cable are the sons of former Idaho players, while Trent Cowan will replace his brother Bobby Cowan as the latest Cowan on the team.

Petrino said he didn’t know if he would have gotten those kids without those family connections.

Sean Kramer can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu


Notable signees

Austin Rehkow – K
Spokane, Wash.
Set Washington state record with 67-yard field goal


Mathew Linehan – QB
Orchard Lake, Mich.
Son of former Idaho QB Scott Linehan


Armond Hawkins – CB
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
No. 158 cornerback nationally via Scout.com


Josh McCain – QB
DeAnza College (Calif.)
32 touchdown passes sophomore season at DeAnza


Kevin Shelton – TE
Auburn, Wash.
Brother, Danny, is starting DT at Washington

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