BEHIND THE NUMBERS: Who wore it best
CHEYENNE -- For the past year, we have broken down who we think are the best Wyoming football players to wear each jersey number 1-99.
Now, we are digging even deeper.
Of our selections, how many players were drafted into the NFL? How many were from Wyoming? How many played for Joe Tiller? Paul Roach? Craig Bohl?
We broke it all down right here:
That's how many players made our list from the state of Wyoming. None of our first 13 picks hailed from the Cowboy State, but our pick for No. 14, Wheatland's Casey Bramlet, spent his college days in Laramie. The others were: No. 30 Logan Wilson, No. 31 Frosty Franklin, No. 37 Lee Vaughn, No. 40 Jim Crawford, No. 43 Cory Talich, No. 44 Selmer Pederson, No. 46 Jim House, No. 48 Tim Gosar, No. 50 John Burrough, No. 61 Tom Gorman, No. 71 Nick Bebout, No. 82 Keith Bloom, No. 85 Ryan McGuffey, No. 89 Marty Hamilton, No. 94 Jim Talich, No. 96 Willie Wright and No. 99 David Edeen.
To think -- most of these guys weren't "good enough" to go to Colorado or Colorado State. All UW fans can say is "thank you!" This is how many players from Colorado made our Top 99, by far the most from any state. Those guys are: No. 1 Derrick Martin, No. 3 Al Rich, No. 4 Tanner Gentry, No. 8 Brian Hendricks, No. 9 Jovon Bouknight, No. 20 Trent Gamble, No. 28 Andrew Wingard, No. 35 Cory Wedel, No. 36 Gerald Abraham, No. 38 Donovan McComb, No. 39 Dane Ingram, No. 45 Brian Lee, No. 51 Joe Ramunno, No. 52 Gabe Knapton, No. 53 Rob Rathbun, No. 55 Mike Schenbeck, No. 56 Dave Schutt, No. 58 Dusty Hoffschneider, No. 59 Ryan Cummings, No. 70 Trenton Franz, No. 77 Steve Scifres, No. 80 Jeff Knapton, No. 83 Wendell Montgomery, No. 90 Galand Thaxton, No. 97 Thomas Williams and No. 98 Mitch Unrein.
That's how many different states are represented on this list. That includes two from Hawaii -- No. 27 Larry Suganuma and No. 91 Paul Nunu -- as well as one selection from Alaska, No. 29 Ward Dobbs. Former Head coaches Bob Devaney and Lloyd Eaton had plenty of success with players from the east, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio. Nebraska, probably just another case of "not good enough" to play for the Huskers, had two picks for the No. 84 in Jerry DePoyster and College Football Hall of Famer, Jay Novacek.
Two former Cowboys on our list weren't even born in America. That would be No. 42 Sean Fleming from British Columbia, Canada, and No. 72 John Kosich, who made his way to Illinois via Italy.
That's how many of these players were drafted into the NFL. Nearly all of them got a shot, but these guys actually heard their names called on draft weekend. No. 1 Derrick Martin, No. 2 Patrick Chukwurah, No. 5 Brian Hill, No. 6 Robert Herron, No. 10 Paul Toscano, No. 14 Casey Bramlet, No. 15 Shawn Wiggins, No. 16 Ryan Yarborough, No. 17 Josh Allen, No. 21 Jim Kiick, No. 23 Marcus Harris, No. 24 Gene Huey, No. 25 Aaron Kyle, No. 30 Logan Wilson, No. 33 Vic Washington, No. 34 Ryan Christopherson, No. 37 Lee Vaughn, No. 40 Jim Crawford, No. 49 Mitch Donahue, No. 50 John Burrough, No. 66 Mike Dirks, No. 69 Pat Rabold, No. 71 Nick Bebout, No. 73 Conrad Dobler, No. 74 Larry Nels, No. 76 Mike LaHood, No. 77 Steve Scifres, No. 78 Dale Memmelaar, No. 80 Jeff Knapton, No. 81 Guy Frazier, No. 84 Jerry DePoyster and Jay Novacek, No. 86 Ken Fantetti, No. 99 David Edeen. The highest selection, of course, came back in 2018 when Josh Allen was selected No. 7 overall by the Buffalo Bills.
This many quarterbacks made our list, starting with No. 7 Josh Wallwork. Other signal callers are No. 10 Paul Toscano, No. 11 Randy Welniak, No. 14 Casey Bramlet, No. 17 Josh Allen, No. 18 Tom Corontzos and No. 19 Craig Burnett. That's 38,531 yards passing between these guys. That's nearly 22 miles worth. These guys also accounted for 281 touchdown passes. That is not even including No. 16 Brett Smith, who is the school's all-time leader with 76 scoring strikes. He didn't make the list for one simple reason -- Ryan Yarborough.
There had to be some studs catching all those passes, right? There sure were. In the mid-to-late 90's a couple of guys -- Ryan Yarborough and Marcus Harris -- did record-breaking damage. When both left Laramie, they were the NCAA's all-time leading receivers. Those guys combined for 8,964 receiving yards and 80 touchdown grabs. There were some pretty good ones that followed, too: No. 4 Tanner Gentry, No. 6 Robert Herron, No. 9 Jovon Bouknight, No. 15 Shawn Wiggins, No. 82 Keith Bloom, No. 83 Wendell Montgomery, No. 85 Ryan McGuffey and No. 88 Malcom Floyd. Wyoming wasn't called "Wide Receiver U" for nothing.
Here are the guys that used their legs to get the job done. Nine running backs made our list, including the Cowboys' top rusher of all-time, Brian Hill. In just three seasons, Hill amassed 4,287 rushing yards, breaking the former record of Devin Moore, who didn't even make this list. That's mainly because these two wore the same number. Here are the other backs to make our list: No. 12 Len Sexton, No. 21 Jim Kiick, No. 31 Frosty Franklin, No. 32 Alvester Alexander, No. 34 Ryan Christopherson, No. 36 Gerald Abraham, No. 40 Jim Crawford and No. 41 Eddie Talboom.
Paul Roach had plenty of players on both sides of the ball make this list, but his defense in the late 80's litters our selections. And what an impressive group that was, starting with two-time All-American, No. 49 Mitch Donahue. You can also add names like No. 55 Mike Schenbeck, No. 56 Dave Schutt, No. 57 Robert Midgett, No. 69 Pat Rabold, No. 80 Jeff Knapton, No. 90 Galand Thaxton, No. 96 Willie Wright, No. 97 Thomas Williams and No. 99 David Edeen. Talk about some bad boys. And more of them made our honorable mention list.
Joe Tiller was known for his offense. "Basketball on grass" some called it during his days at Purdue. His offense was potent through the air and on the ground. Mainly, it was the Josh Wallwork-to-Marcus Harris connection that most remember during Tiller's days in Laramie. And for good reason -- they were the best in college football in 1996. Here are the rest of Tiller's guys who made our list: No. 7 Josh Wallwork, No. 12 Len Sexton, No. 16 Ryan Yarborough, No. 23 Marcus Harris, No. 34 Ryan Christopherson, No. 38 Donovan McComb, No. 53 Rob Rathbun, No. 77 Steve Scifres, No. 79 Jay Korth and No. 83 Wendell Montgomery
Wyoming has been home to some of the greatest safeties, whether it be Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the Skyline Conference, the Western Athletic Conference or, now, the Mountain West. Some of the best safeties in Laramie didn't even make this list. It's never easy to leave guys like John Salley (No. 8 Brian Hendricks) John Wendling (No. 23 Marcus Harris), Chris Prosinski (No. 24 Gene Huey), Marcus Epps (No. 6 Robert Herron) or Alijah Halliburton (No. 3 Al Rich) off any list. Those guys were simply casualties to their jersey number. Here are our picks at safety that did make the list: No. 3 Al Rich, No. 20 Trent Gamble, No. 25 Aaron Kyle, No. 28 Andrew Wingard, No. 44 Selmer Pederson and No. 45 Brian Lee.
When someone else attempts to make this list again in 50 years, Craig Bohl could very well be the best coach in school history with the most players on this list. Right now, Wyoming's current head coach has put a few players on this list already in his six seasons in Laramie: No. 4 Tanner Gentry, No. 5 Brian Hill, No. 17 Josh Allen, No. 28 Andrew Wingard, No. 30 Logan Wilson and No. 59 Ryan Cummings. Look for names like Xazavian Valladay, Logan Harris, Eric Abojei, Keegan Cryder, and possibly Sean Chambers and/ or Levi Williams, among others, to make this list one day. And here's a sleeper for you -- Legacy player, Chad Muma.
Our best read story in the entire series was No. 92 Jeff Boyle. Apparently he is still beloved in Norton, Kansas. The former Wyoming defensive tackle played from 1997-00 under both Dana Dimel and Vic Koenning. His story amassed 5,664 total page views.
That's the total number of views this series produced. That's an average of roughly 1,973 views per story. Not bad considering these came out in the dog days of summer. Thank you all for reading!