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 defensive tackle Thomas Williams tallied 11 sacks and 79 tackles during the 1990 season./ UW courtesy photo
Wyoming defensive tackle Thomas Williams tallied 11 sacks and 79 tackles during the 1990 season./ UW courtesy photo

No. 25 - Thomas Williams

Defensive tackle, 1989-1993, Pueblo, Colorado


Résumé in Laramie

Back in 1990, the same year the Cowboys took on Cal in the Copper Bowl, Thomas Williams registered 11 sacks from the defensive tackle spot. The notorious run stopper also tallied 79 tackles on that nine-win squad. The Pueblo, Colo., product earned second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors in the process. He would again earn postseason awards after helping lead Wyoming to yet another Copper Bowl during his senior season. The four-year starter, who played next to names like Mitch Donahue, David Edeen, Jeff Knapton, Pat Rabold, and many others on the defensive front, is still in the school's Top 5 in single-season sacks (11) and career sacks (24). Williams signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons in 1994. He eventually landed in the coal mines of Gillette and recently finished his degree at Wyoming.


About Pueblo

At the 2020 census, Pueblo was reportedly home to nearly 112,000 residents. Just 112 miles south of Denver, the county seat of Pueblo County also goes by the nicknames "Home of Heroes" and "Steel City." It's city motto: "A City of Excellence." David Packard (Father of Silicon Valley) once called this place home. So did Earl "Dutch" Clark (Pro Football Hall of Fame) and the late Conrad Dobler, the "dirtiest player in NFL history," who played his college ball at Wyoming


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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