LARAMIE -- It's officially "series season."

This summer, with the help of some longtime Wyoming football followers, we will count down the Top 25 homegrown products in program history.

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As always, what these guys did in professional football doesn't matter. This is all about production in Laramie. A couple of the guys on this final list may not have been born here, but they grew up in Wyoming and graduated from an in-state high school.

Once we put a bow on these selections, we'll move on to other states like Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, etc. You get the picture:


Wyoming safety John Wendling recorded 154 tackles and picked off seven passes during his career in Laramie./ UW courtesy photo
Wyoming safety John Wendling recorded 259 tackles and picked off seven passes during his career in Laramie./ UW courtesy photo

No. 10 - John Wendling

Safety, 2003-06, Rock Springs, Wyo.


Résumé in Laramie

John Wendling racked up 259 tackles from the safety spot during his career in Laramie. He tacked on seven interceptions. Four times he was named to an All-Mountain West team. The Rock Springs product was known as a freak athlete. Remember those YouTube videos showing Wendling leaping in the air with a bar full of weights? Or just "simply" doing a vertical jump onto a platform nearly as tall as him? It was actually 66 inches. That's more than five feet. After leading Rock Springs High School to an undefeated season and a state championship, Wendling came to Laramie in 2002. Two years later, for the first time in nearly four decades, the Cowboys won a bowl game. They were a two-touchdown underdog against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl, but managed to pull off the improbable 24-21 victory late in regulation. Wendling went on to become a sixth-round selection of the Buffalo Bills in the 2007 NFL Draft. He spent seven seasons in the league, capping his career with the Detroit Lions back in 2013.


About Rock Springs

Home to more than 23,000 residents, Rock Springs is the fifth most populated city in the state. Known as the "Home of 56 Nationalities," this stop along Interstate-80 in the southwest part of Wyoming saw an influx of immigrants thanks to the coal mines and railroads. Adam Archuleta (NFL), Butch Cassidy (outlaw) and former UW women's basketball coach Joe Legerski all once called Rock Springs home.


Pokes Football: Best of Wyoming 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


(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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