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:


Willie Wright/ UW courtesy photo
Willie Wright/ UW courtesy photo

No. 22 - Willie Wright

Linebacker, 1987-90, Riverton, Wyo.


Résumé in Laramie

Unlike yesterday's selection, wins came early and often in Laramie for linebacker Willie Wright. During his four-year career at Wyoming, the Riverton product won 35 games, two Western Athletic Conference titles (1987-88) and appeared in three bowl games -- the Holiday Bowl (twice) and the Copper Bowl. Wright parlayed that success into an opportunity with the Phoenix Cardinals in 1991 as an undrafted free agent. After making the position switch to tight end, Wright spent two seasons in the desert. He also spent time in the World League of American Football in Frankfurt, Germany and the Canadian Football League. Wright shared the field with some of the best defensive players of the 80's at UW: Galand ThaxtonMitch DonahueJeff KnaptonBret BommerDavid EdeenRobert Midgett and many others. The 1987 Holiday Bowl team was enshrined into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018. Wright is now a music teacher in Worland.


About Riverton

The most populous city in Fremont County, Riverton is home to more than 10,000 residents. Located near the middle of the state, the Rendezvous City is situated right next to the Wind River Indian Reservation. Other notable people from Riverton include: Chance Phelps (Marine who was killed in Iraq, inspiration behind HBO movie Taking Chace), Darrell Winfield (Marlboro Man) and Nick Bebout (former Wyoming, NFL football player)


Pokes Football: Best of Wyoming series

* No. 25

* No. 24

* No. 23


(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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