LARAMIE – Davon Wells-Ross was running a little late for his weekly interviews Monday afternoon.
He had a pressing issue to attend to. He calls it “leadership.”
“I just took a teammate to class to make sure he got there in time,” he said. “On the field or off, you have to handle your business. It transfers onto the field. We make sure everyone goes to class. We don’t mess around with that. So, I picked him up.”
That wasn’t always the MO for the sophomore defensive end
Despite being the No. 5 overall recruit in the state of
Nebraska in 2016, Wells-Ross redshirted the following season and only saw
action in two games last season. He failed to record any statistics.
Wells-Ross said he has taken a cue from guys like Josiah Hall and Garrett Crall when it comes to conducting yourself on and off the football field. He also pointed to maturity. He has been on campus in Laramie for three seasons now.
Crall wondered if that longevity would even be possible in
“Honestly, since the day he got here to now, he has made the
biggest strides of anyone on this team,” the junior defensive end said. “At
times, I was like, this guy has his own agenda, but he really wanted to turn
the tables for himself. He has spent more time in the weight room and on
football. It’s noticeable.”
Wells-Ross recorded 65 tackles, including 11 for loss, while leading Omaha North High School to the No. 1 ranking in the state during his senior season. He was named First Team All-State Class A and First Team All-Metro by the Omaha World-Herald. He was receiving offers from Nebraska, Kansas State and Iowa State, despite having less than 200 pounds on his 6-foot, 5-inch frame.
So, what took so long for Wells-Ross to bloom?
“Really, just trusting everything,” he said. “Coach (AJ) Cooper never steers me wrong. I knew my time was coming, and I wanted to make the best of it.”
It’s really that simple? Wells-Ross says yes. And, now, the confidence is following suit.
In just three games this season, the sophomore with the big
grin has seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, which both
came in a blowout home win over UNLV.
He said his secret has been the “stutter step.” He still
weighs in at just 212 pounds. Those choppy steps, along with a burst of speed,
has given offensive lines fits this season.
“I like to get the tackle leaning,” Wells-Ross said. “I get him guessing, and as soon as he reacts, I go the opposite way. I’m a pretty strong guy. Guys are surprised by that. I definitely surprise people with my strength and speed around the edge. It’s a huge factor.”
He isn’t just surprising the Cowboys opponents, either.
“He doesn’t have a lot of weight behind him, but he plays
aggressive,” Crall said. “He’s a competitor and has a football mindset. We don’t
care how big someone is. We are all undersized here, but we are all a bunch of
It’s not hard to see where the toughness comes from for Wells-Ross.
Look no further than that hyphen between his last names.
Those come from his dad’s parents. Both of them. They were
strong-minded people, who didn’t want their legacy to die with a single last
“My grandma wanted us to honor her father with the last name
Wells,” he said. “He was a stand-up, strict kind of guy. The Ross side, that
name is very popular in Omaha. It’s just a way we honor both of my
grandparents. It shows how dominant both of my grandparents are.”
Wells-Ross and the rest of the Wyoming pass rushers will have to be tough this Saturday in Laramie if they hope to break through New Mexico’s offensive line, which has given up just four sacks all season.
Crall said he isn’t worried about that. And, now, he isn’t
worried about Wells-Ross, either.
“We are so happy with him. He just keeps getting better,”
Crall said. “I just try to be a good example and leader to him. There was a
time when he wasn’t taking school seriously and now he’s a legit player on our defense.
“We are proud of him.”