Harsh, McNeely injured, unavailable for opener at Illinois
LARAMIE -- If MVP awards were handed out during the offseason, Sabastian Harsh would've claimed that honor with ease.
Each time Craig Bohl stepped in front of a microphone during spring camp, he praised the young defensive end. That continued into the fall, too.
Wyoming's ninth-year head coach mentioned Harsh once again during his weekly press conference Tuesday, only this time he was delivering news that has become all-too familiar over the last two weeks.
Harsh suffered an unspecified injury that will sideline the sophomore for at least the Cowboys' season opener this Saturday at Illinois. Bohl also announced that running back Dawaiian McNeely was also injured and will not accompany the team to Champaign.
"They've got some injuries," Bohl said. "Some may be more significant than others. We'll keep you posted as we go."
Harsh and McNeely join a growing list of players to hit the injury list this offseason.
Wide receiver Gunner Gentry was lost for the season last week after suffering a non-contact knee injury in practice. Running back Jeremy Hollingsworth (knee), nickel Buck Coors (leg) and safety TJ Urban (knee) will also miss the 2022 campaign. Defensive end Keelan Cox (hip) is out for at least eight weeks.
Harsh appeared in all 13 games for the Cowboys last fall, recording seven tackles, including five of the solo variety. A mainstay on special teams, the 6-foot-3, 237-pound Scottsbluff, Neb., product was expected to lead a group of young edge rushers this fall that includes Oluwaseyi Omotosho, DeVonne Harris and Braden Siders, among others.
"Certainly, not having Sabastian is going to have an impact," Bohl said. "I (think) he is a really good player."
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During the offseason, UW lost Victor Jones (Akron), Jaylen Pate (Northwestern) and Solomon Byrd (USC) to the NCAA Transfer Portal. Garrett Crall exhausted his eligibility. Those four accounted for 10 sacks and 125 tackles.
The returners: Zero sacks, 12 tackles.
The other defensive ends listed on the Wyoming roster are: Tyce Westland, Kevin Sjogren, Brady Bohlinger, Akili Bonner and Haegun Hoffschneider.
Joey Braasch, a redshirt freshman from Columbus, Neb., landed the back-up role at running back on the Cowboys' depth chart behind Titus Swen. McNeely appeared in 11 games last fall, rolling up 113 yards on just 17 carries. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound sophomore also found the end zone one time in a 45-12 rout of Ball State.
The Cowboys, Fighting Illini are scheduled to kickoff the season at 2 p.m. Mountain Time. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
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