LARAMIE -- No other state has been more of a recruiting hotbed for the University of Wyoming than Colorado.

This list will prove that.

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Numerous UW Hall of Famers, NFL stars and program record holders began their football journey in that square to the south. The Cowboys' top rival, Colorado State, overlooked plenty of these guys. So did CU. Air Force even whiffed a time or two.

Some just flat out picked Laramie over Fort Collins, Boulder and Colorado Springs.

This summer, with the help of some longtime Wyoming football followers, we will count down the Top 25 Colorado products in program history. As always, what these guys did in professional football doesn't matter. This is all about production in Laramie.


Wyoming's Mitch Unrein was a four-year starter in Laramie after walking onto the program in 2005./ UW courtesy photo
Wyoming's Mitch Unrein was a four-year starter in Laramie after walking onto the program in 2005./ UW courtesy photo

No. 18 - Mitch Unrein

Defensive tackle, 2006-09, Eaton, Colorado


Résumé in Laramie

Mitch Unrein tallied 162 tackles during his four-year career in Laramie including 20.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. In 2011, his 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage tied him for the ninth-best single-season output in program history. The former walk-on from Eaton, Colo., started as a freshman and three times was named All-Mountain West Honorable Mention. Unrein was named the Defensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl during his senior season. Not only was the nose tackle credited with clogging up the interior during a four-snap goal-line stand in the first overtime period, he forced a Ryan Mathews' fumble late in the fourth quarter that led to the tying score to even get in that position in the first place. Wyoming would go on to knock off Fresno State 35-28 in double overtime that night in Albuquerque. Unrein also added six tackles, a pair of tackles for loss and two sacks in the contest. Unrein went on to sign as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans. From there he spent five years with the Denver Broncos, appearing in Super Bowl 48. He even snagged a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning in 2012.


About Eaton

Eaton is a farming town made up of roughly 6,000 residents. A part of the Greeley Metropolitan Statistical Area, this small community is an agricultural Mecca on the Front Range. Two current NFL players -- Austin Ekeler (Commanders) and Trent Sieg (Raiders) -- once called Eaton home. Ekeler is also the brother of current Wyoming safety Wyett Ekeler.


Pokes Football: Best of Colorado series:

No. 25

No. 24

No. 23

No. 22

No. 21

No. 20

No. 19


Pokes Football: Best of Wyoming series


(Cody Tucker and Jared Newland both work for Townsquare Media, which owns Kevin McKinney has been a color commentator of Cowboy football for five decades. Ryan Thorburn now works for the University of Wyoming in a sports information role after spending decades in the newspaper industry, most recently at the Casper Star-Tribune. Sally Ann Shurmur, the daughter of former UW football coach Fritz Shurmur, is also a veteran of the newspaper industry, working as a journalist, columnist at the CST for 43 years. She currently writes for Cowboy State Daily.)

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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