Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Montana are all states with beautiful landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities. Some of these states have more wildlife than people, and that does not make for fertile recruiting grounds. It is rare that a top recruit will come from Montana or Wyoming, and the schools within each state's borders are the main recruiters of its talent; both have only two players each currently in the NFL.
The populations in Utah, Nevada and Colorado are bigger, so naturally the recruiting is a bit better. Utah and Colorado support three Division I football programs, and Nevada supports two. All three will have their share of notable national prospects from time-to-time, especially Colorado.
Colorado this year is home to two ESPN 150 players, and last year had prospects sign with out-of-state programs like USC, California, Texas and Michigan.
Nevada is down a bit this year after producing Class of '06 No. 1 running back DeMarco Murray (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), who signed with Oklahoma.
Ryan Miller, Offensive tackle
Columbine (Littleton, Colo.)
The top player from this region is among the top prospects in the country. In the trenches of Columbine High, you can find Miller, the nation's No. 4 offensive tackle.
He is a tall, rangy player with the frame to keep getting bigger, and he just exudes the potential to be a real monster of a player. Outside of his growth potential, he has impressive tenacity, and he plays hard, moves well, can create seams for ball carriers and protects the quarterback.
His ability caught the attention of recruiters from all over the country. At one time, USC, Miami, Notre Dame and Colorado were the final four teams in the hunt for him, but he has since committed to in-state Colorado.
"This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever made and we feel we owe it to everyone involved to make an early commitment," his mother Daylyn said via e-mail. "That being said, Ryan has decided to stay in Colorado and help build the new CU program under Dan Hawkins. Ryan sees the vision of Dan Hawkins and can't wait to be a part of it."
Player under the radar
Griffin Robles, Quarterback
Spanish Fork, Utah
Among the snow-capped mountains of the Utah landscape plays a sleeper at the quarterback position. The 6-foot-5 Robles is a polished pocket passer with good arm strength and feet.
He has a quick release, can make all the throws and shows good composure. Important for a quarterback, Robles will make quick decisions and shows that he rarely panics. He runs well enough to pick up a first down if the situation calls for it.
He has room for improvement in his drops and can keep improving his overall technique. Bottom line though, he is a good quarterback with the needed physical tools and upside.
Robles is a very nice pick-up for Utah, which offered the talented signal caller as a sophomore. However, coaches and fans will need to be patient as Robles plans to go on a mission before attending college.
On the trail
There is no clear champion recruiter of these states at this point. You will not see much action out of Wyoming, Montana, but Colorado, Nevada and Utah still have plenty of good talent available. Three of the top five players in Utah are still available, and two of the top five in Colorado, so there is still work to be done. None of the prospects we've tracked from Nevada have committed to this point, but as always, both UNLV and Nevada rely heavily on California to fuel their rosters.
The program that stands out right now in this area is BYU, because they have been the busiest and most productive in these states. They have eight players from Utah and one from Colorado. The top rated player they have is in-state wide receiver Jordan Pendleton out of Bingham High in South Jordan, Utah.
And don't forget Illinois, which nabbed ESPN 150 quarterback Clint Brewster (Littleton, Colo./Mullen).
Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc.