Biggest winners from satellite camping might be schools like Wyoming and Utah State

Wyoming's Craig Bohl said his staff has attended multiple satellite camps this summer. Troy Babbitt/USA TODAY Sports

Forget what you’ve heard about Michigan and satellite camps. The biggest winners of the summer might just be Group of 5 teams.

While many coaches across college football continue to debate the merits of satellite camps and the Wolverines get the attention for infiltrating talent-rich areas with their camps, the tangible recruiting victories are coming to much smaller teams.

For Wyoming and Utah State, to name a few, hitting the road in earnest to attend satellite camps has already seen bigger numbers of offers and more players evaluated.

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl is all in when it comes to satellite camps. He said the Cowboys coaches are as involved in camps as any staff out there, hitting eight or nine events this month.

“Because we’re in a sparsely populated area, we really need to canvas the country and these camps give us an opportunity to do that,” Bohl said. “Some schools that are in a proximity where there’s an abundance of prospects that come to their camps see things differently. Being in Laramie, Wyoming, we have 570,000 people in the whole state, so we’re in a different situation.”

Bohl guessed that the Cowboys coaches are able to evaluate at least ten times as many prospects at satellite camps as they would using on-campus events alone.

“We always encourage young men to come to our campus, but to get out is invaluable to us,” Bohl said.

Hesperia (Calif.) Oak Hills wide receiver Kevin Davis picked up an offer from Wyoming after his performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body Los Angeles satellite camp last week. Had he not had satellite camp opportunities, Davis was unsure of how many coaches would have been able to watch and evaluate him this summer.

In Davis’ case, the rhetoric that satellite camps were for providing more opportunities for athletes proved true.

“I must say, I have great parents,” Davis said. “I know if they had to, they would have tried to make sure I had the opportunity, but our camp choices would have been based on the interest of the schools. I know it would have been hard financially and I don’t think I would have had the opportunity I had to have some great schools [coaching me] all at once.”

Joining Wyoming in hitting California hard with satellite camps this summer is Utah State.

Head coach Matt Wells said the Aggies will put on two in-state institutional camps and then will be involved with six or seven satellite camps in California. Like Bohl at Wyoming, the sheer number of prospects in front of the coaches is a huge bonus for Wells.

“We approach it from a recruiting standpoint as a tremendous opportunity for us to get out and be able to evaluate a lot of guys at one time,” Wells said. “I think the best thing about these satellite camps is it helps a lot of kids be seen.”

It’s usually a bit surprising when multiple offers go out from Power 5 programs following a single satellite camp, but both Utah State and Wyoming made multiple offers following big California camps last week. The Cowboys also offered Newbury Park (Calif.) Chris Brooks -- who said he most likely wouldn’t have camped with Wyoming this summer if the only option was to travel to an on-campus event. The Aggies extended offers to linebacker Richard Cage, cornerback Andre Grayson and 2020 quarterback Bryce Young following the Empire Showcase satellite camp. Wells guessed that because of the size of that camp, the coaches would likely add 12 to 15 names to the recruiting board that were unknown to them coming in.

The Sound Mind Sound Body camp could be just as good to Wyoming.

“The number of guys who come out of a different type of camp is going to vary,” Bohl said. “Sometimes we’ll sign two or three out of a camp, but I’d venture to say that there will be a significant number of guys we’ll end up signing out of this.”