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.


Jeff Knapton manned the Cowboys' front four from 1984-87, tallying 30 quarterback sacks./ UW courtesy photo
Jeff Knapton manned the Cowboys' front four from 1984-87, tallying 30 quarterback sacks./ UW courtesy photo

No. 8 - Jeff Knapton

Defensive tackle, 1984-87, Yuma, Colorado


Résumé in Laramie

Only Mitch Donahue (49) capped his Wyoming career with more quarterback sacks than Jeff Knapton's 30. Pat Rabold, a teammate of Knapton's, also finished with 30. Want to hear something scary? All three of these guys were on the same defense in 1987. So was Galand Thaxton, David Edeen, Doug Rigby, Mike Schenbeck, Robert Midgett and Craig Schlichting, among others. Those numbers have stood the test of time, lasting for nearly four decades. In 1987, Knapton was one of the premiere pass rushers in the NCAA, tallying 19 sacks. That's still second most in a single season behind, guess who? Donahue had 22 in 1990. Knapton played for three different head coaches in Laramie, beginning with Al Kincaid. Dennis Erickson followed. So did Paul Roach. The latter led the Cowboys to back-to-back WAC championships and consecutive berths in the Holiday Bowl. Knapton was part of the first one.That team was inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018. Knapton was an All-WAC First Teamer as a senior. Knpaton's nephew, Gabe Knapton, appeared on this very list at No. 16.


About Yuma

Roughly 40 miles from the Kansas and Nebraska borders, Yuma is home to less than 3,500 residents.



Pokes Football: Best of Colorado series:

No. 25

No. 24

No. 23

No. 22

No. 21

No. 20

No. 19

No. 18

No. 17

No. 16 

No. 15

No. 14

No. 13

No. 12

No. 11

No. 10

No. 9


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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