LARAMIE -- Jay Johnson knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.

Three of his signal callers -- Michigan State's Payton Thorne, Louisiana's Blaine Gautier and Central Michigan's Ryan Radcliff -- all earned Bowl MVP honors under Johnson's tutelage.

That trio has combined for 22,337 passing yards and 162 touchdowns.

Not too shabby.

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Johnson himself was a three-time All-Gateway Conference performer at quarterback at Northern Iowa. He led the Panthers to a 31-8 overall record as a starter. That run included three conference titles and the same amount of Division I-AA playoff appearances.

Johnson's back-up at NIU was future NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner.

"As I always say, Kurt's done very well and is worth millions," Wyoming's new offensive coordinator joked. "I'm a great trivia question."

All Kidding aside, what are Johnson's initial thoughts of his new quarterback Evan Svoboda?

"Obviously, he's a big, athletic kid," he said of the Cowboys' 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior. "He can really run well, he's strong and he's physical.

"... I think he has a pretty good skill set of throwing the ball, too."

He will also likely be the starter under center in late August when Wyoming opens up the 2024 campaign at Arizona State.

Svoboda appeared in eight games last fall, including one start. That came at Texas where the sophomore filled in for Andrew Peasley, who was sidelined with a right shoulder injury.

Calm and composed throughout, Svoboda completed 17-of-28 attempts for 136 yards against the Longhorns. He did throw a fourth-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown in an eventual 31-10 loss to the third-ranked team in the nation.

Mostly used in running situations, the Mesa, Arizona product rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on just 25 attempts.

Svoboda, again sliding in for an injured Peasley, led the Cowboys on a 12-play, 87-yard game-winning drive in the Arizona Bowl. John Hoyland capped the 16-15 victory over Toledo with a 24-yard field goal.

Former Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl would often say Svoboda's long ball rivaled only one field general he had during his 10-year tenure on the sidelines in Laramie -- Josh Allen. After the bowl win in the desert, Peasley said he's been around three quarterbacks he would consider to be "special."

"It was actually on my visit to Utah State," he said. "It was against Wyoming and I was sitting right next to Jordan Love and Josh Allen warming up and it was pretty impressive what I was seeing. I was like, this is the norm? Come to find out, it wasn't the normal. And then Evan. You know, when I first saw Evan throw and the way it comes out of his hand. He's still got some stuff to learn but I think that he's going to have a bright future."

So does Johnson.

"Nowadays I think in the game, the way defenses are trying to get a few more bodies close to the box and things of that nature, when you have a person of his stature that can hopefully lend a little bit more challenges to them," he said. "So, yeah, I'm excited to work with all the guys and Evan sure is a big, physical body, at this point."

Wyoming's spring practice schedule is set to begin March 26 in Laramie.

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit:

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players


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