College sports notebook: East’s Kyler Johnson commits to play college football; UAA men’s hockey adds another recruit

football, high school sports, east high, bartlett high, september

After months of taking visits and much deliberation, Kyler Johnson has committed to play football at Division II Western New Mexico University.

A 2022 graduate of Bettye Davis East Anchorage High and dual-threat quarterback, Johnson was named the 2021-2022 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year for football after leading the Thunderbirds to a Division I state championship.

“I just felt like it was the right fit,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long process. I was going to make a decision about two weeks ago and a couple days before I made a decision, they called and I just felt like I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”

Even though the Mustangs were late to the game in recruiting him and are only offering him a partial scholarship, Johnson knew it was the best place for him and want’s to be a part of building up the program.

“I just want to help them win and do whatever I can,” Johnson said.

Prior to WNMU’s last-minute push, Johnson had narrowed his options to Valley City State University (NAIA) in Valley City, North Dakota, and Allan Hancock College (JUCO) in Santa Maria, California.

“They were great visits and I loved the coaches from both schools,” Johnson said.

He said he is excited to start the next chapter of his life and ready embrace the college experience, where he plans to major in sports management and education with the hopes of becoming a coach and physical education instructor.

Some schools in the recruiting process wanted Johnson to play slot receiver but he will be playing his desired position of quarterback for the Mustangs. Even though he was a two-sport star in high school and a state champion in basketball, his sole focus in college will be football.

Seawolves bring in another transfer

The UAA hockey team continued to add to its recruiting class for the 2022-2023 season when head coach Matt Shasby announced the transfer of Jamie Collins from Clarkson University last week.

“Jamie is the perfect fit to finish our forward group,” said Shasby in a statement. “He comes in with four years of college hockey under his belt and the ability to play in any situation. He also plays the game with a ton of grit, which is going to be a big part of our identity.”

The 5-foot-7 forward from Fergus, Ontario, recorded three goals and seven assists in 77 games during his four year career with the Golden Knights. Before attending Clarkson he played in 113 games at the junior level in the British Columbia Hockey League for the Nanaimo Clippers and logged 27 goals and 35 assists for 62 points.

Nanooks hire a new assistant women’s basketball coach

UAF added a new member to the coaching staff of its women’s basketball program last week with hiring of Marquis Jones as an assistant coach.

He is following his friend and former colleague at Weber State University up north after the two spent the past four years serving as assistants on the same staff.

“I could not be more excited to announce the addition of Marquis Jones to our program,” UAF head coach Amy Donovan said in a statement. “Coach Quis is a bright, energetic coach with a knack for analytics and player development. I’ve worked closely with him for several years at Weber State and know that he will positively impact the women’s basketball program at all levels. He’s someone that the players, staff, and University of Alaska Fairbanks community are lucky to have!”

UAF swimming program earns academic recognition

The Nanooks swim team was named a 2022 CSCAA Scholar All-America Team following their collective scholastic achievement in 2021-22. They were one of 731 teams from 441 institutions to be selected by the he College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) to receive the recognition for the Spring 2022 semester after producing a team GPA of 3.23.

“To be named to the CSCAA Scholar All-America List is a great honor and I am very proud of their academic accomplishments this season.” said head coach Kelsey Leeson in a statement. “These women are great ambassadors for the University both in the pool and in the classroom and I know their successes will continue for years to come.”

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.