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OGDEN — It's not often that a team has an introductory press conference for its new head coach on the same day that the early signing period for high school recruits opens.
That's what happened on Wednesday as Weber State officially introduced Mickey Mental as the team's new head coach and received signed letters of intent from some five new players.
While signing recruits is slightly different for an FCS team like Weber State, it's still an important first step for a new head coach, especially one getting his first taste of head coaching at a Division I level.
"It's surreal anytime you can have a signing day and a press conference," Mental said. "More importantly, all the grades came out today, so we know how we did academically — which we did very, very well."
Wednesday marked the first day that high school recruits were able to sign letters of intent to play college sports. Until now, coaches and recruiters had to go on verbal commitments or written ones, but without anything officially signed.
The Wildcats received signed commitments from five athletes — smaller than many other schools, but just the first step for Mental and his staff in preparing for next season. Schools in the FBS can have 85 participants on scholarship, while schools like Weber State in the FCS can only have 63 scholarship players each year.
The Wildcats can use the traditional signing day on Feb. 1, 2023, to add more recruits to its 2023 class. But a lot can change in the span of about a month and a half.
"Anytime you get a commitment it's your staff, it's you, everybody that helped the process in getting that young man to commit to Weber," Mental said. "So we're really, really excited with the guys that we brought in today, and the guys that we'll keep recruiting and hopefully bring in by February."
The following are the five athletes who committed to Weber State on the early signing day:
Major Givens, RB, Steele Canyon HS
Givens is a two-sport athlete in football and basketball who also played both offense and defense on the football field, though he'll come to Weber State as a running back. With the departure of senior Josh Davis, he'll be a welcome addition to that room.
During his senior year, Givens played in 10 games and scored 14 touchdowns and rushed for 1,754 yards on 214 carries, an average of 8.2 yards per carry. At 5-foot-10 inches and 185 pounds, he's got a good body for the running back position.
"My commitment and signing means everything to me," Givens said. "Not only is it the exclamation mark marking the end of my high school career, it's the start of a new chapter for me. ... It's a huge relief to finally have this decision behind me. It's probably been the most stressful decision of my life and it feels like a ton of bricks have been lifted.
"Now I can get back to focusing on what I do best, and that's grinding it out in the weight room, preparing my body for the upcoming season."
Trevor Beck, OL, Rocky Mountain HS
Weber State added Trevor Beck, the younger brother of one of its star linebackers, Garrett Beck. Beck will be a strong addition to an offensive line that has performed well over the past few years.
He primarily played tackle on the offensive side of the ball and defensive tackle on the opposing side. At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, he should find success at whatever position on the line coach Brent Myers decides to use him.
Richie Munoz, QB, Charter Oak HS
The first of two quarterbacks that Mental and his staff signed on Wednesday, Munoz is a three-star prospect out of West Covina, California, who was also offered by San Jose State. With Weber State's starting and backup quarterbacks currently in the transfer portal, Munoz should have an opportunity to compete for the starting spot right away.
At 6 feet, Munoz is a bit shorter for a quarterback prospect but proved throughout his high school campaigns that it didn't matter. During his senior season, he threw for 2,994 yards and 40 touchdowns and had a 66% completion percentage, with just three interceptions.
Will Way, OL, Pusch Ridge Academy
Way is another offensive lineman joining the Wildcats' stellar front. He was a team captain of his high school team and played multiple positions, particularly tight end, defensive end and offensive line.
Measuring at 6-foot-4 inches and 255 pounds, Way is mobile for a lineman and spent most of his time at the tackle positions. Way held offers from other Big Sky schools and even a few Power Five schools. He'll look to push the returning starters along the line for playing time in the coming fall.
Dylan Gutierrez, QB, Damien HS
The second of Mental's two new quarterbacks, Gutierrez is a three-star prospect out of La Verne, California, who held multiple offers, including from schools like Georgia Southern and North Texas.
Gutierrez is 5-foot-11 inches and 205 pounds. During his senior year, he played threw for 1,383 yards and nine touchdowns on 59% passing, with six interceptions.
"Weber is home," Gutierrez said after his official signing. "Coach Mental and coach (Matty) Ah You started building a relationship with me late in my junior year and I am glad they stopped by my school. I took a game day unofficial visit in November and I knew it was going to be home when I walked on campus."