Column: While you’re retiring jerseys …
LARAMIE -- The retirement of Fennis Dembo's No. 34 jersey Saturday got me thinking -- why haven't any football numbers been hung up?
The No. 10, worn by Ed Synakowski, has not been in use since his untimely death when he drown in Lake Hattie in 1970. Dave Schutt was struck and killed by a train in Laramie in 1988. Wyoming's starting middle linebacker wore No. 56. He was the last one to do so.
But neither number is technically retired.
If it were up to me, the first digits I'd be hanging on the facade of War Memorial Stadium is the No. 23. That number, of course, belongs to All-American wide receiver, Marcus Harris.
I don't think the university -- or even some in the Cowboys fan base -- really stop to think about what this guy accomplished during his four years in Laramie.
Actually, make that three. During his freshman season, Harris caught exactly one pass. That's what makes his numbers even more impressive.
The Minneapolis product entered his sophomore campaign with one catch for 14 yards. He left the Gem City with a school record 258 grabs for 4,518 yards and 38 touchdowns through the air. He won the Biletnikoff Trophy in 1996. They give that award to the best receiver in the country. It's the Heisman Trophy for pass catchers.
Harris was simply the best at his craft.
Three times now Harris has been up for enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame. That honor is long overdue.
Don't forget about the excitement he brought to Cowboy football, too. Wyoming went 10-2 during his senior season. They beat rival Colorado State on what will forever be known as "The Drive." The Pokes knocked off Iowa State in Ames. They hammered teams that season. A 66-0 blanking of Hawaii comes to mind.
That Wyoming team, coached by the late Joe Tiller, played in the inaugural WAC Championship game in Las Vegas. They took a Top-5 BYU team into overtime.
Scratch that, the high-powered Cougars took them into overtime. When the dist settled, Wyoming lost and were left out in the cold when bowl announcements were made. It's still one of the great travesties in college football.
Since Harris, another Wyoming standout has worn the No. 23. That was John Wendling. As good as the Rock Springs native was on Saturdays, I always found it odd that the university would just hand out that number.
No offense whatsoever to these guys, but Cliff Brye, Rich Sweeney, Justin Watts, Tyler Sharman, Derrick McMahen, Ghaali Muhammad, Tim Kamana, Mike Green, Xazavian Valladay and Alphonzo Andrews are not Marcus Harris.
He was special. You wouldn't know it by walking into War Memorial Stadium where the only visible mention of him is on a small banner leading into the Indoor Practice Facility.
There are probably many other players that deserve this honor. Maybe Jim Kiick, Eddie Talboom, Jerry DePoyster, Mitch Donahue, Andrew Wingard, Brian Hill, Ryan Yarborough, Mike Dirks, Jim Crawford?
All, I'm sure, have a case, plus many others.
Who is your choice?
I cast the first vote for Marcus Harris.