LARAMIE -- Season-ending injuries sidelined DQ James and Dawaiian McNeely. Breaking team rules prematurely ended Titus Swen's college career.

Joey Braasch, weeks before the Cowboys were set to appear in the Arizona Bowl, entered free agency, tossing his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal.

All four of those guys listed above play running back.

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Not an ideal situation for a run-first Wyoming program that had amassed 2,358 total yards on the ground, 1,832 of which came courtesy of the foursome who would not be suiting up in Tucson.

Craig Bohl still had options -- unproven ones.

Jordon Vaughn had yet to see the field during his UW career. Same can be said for true freshman LJ Richardson. Wyoming's veteran coach had one more trick up his sleeve, one he kept top secret until just minutes before the opening kick with Ohio.

Meet your new running back: Sam Scott.

Sam Scott?

Are we talking about the redshirt freshman linebacker with two tackles on his résumé? Yep, that's the one.

What went into this decision?

"Sam was really a good running back in high school," Bohl said, referring to Scott's 11 yards per carry average as a senior at Skutt Catholic High School. "My thoughts were, guys that can play running back are going to be a good linebacker, which I think he could have been. He's just more naturally gifted at running back."



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Turns out, this wasn't a one-time emergency scenario, either. Scott has permanently moved into the Cowboys' backfield. The position switch became official this winter with one brief conversation.

"I was excited," the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Omaha native said. "I love playing running back."

Scott got the ball in his belly for the first time early in the third quarter. That went for four yards. His next carry netted six. The final attempt, just one. The final stat line -- three carries, 11 yards -- certainly didn't turn any heads, but the experience itself is paying major dividends this spring.

"It was very real to me that I would get playing time in the bowl game. I didn't have any playing time all year, I was on scout team defense," Scott said, a grin creasing his youthful face. "I was definitely shocked, but it was so exciting and a great experience."

Admittedly, Scott didn't have much time to flip through the offensive playbook before his debut in the desert. Coaches instead pounded the game plan in his head. Aaron Bohl, Wyoming's linebackers coach, called it a natural fit. He even called Scott "possibly the best athlete on the team."

High praise.

"When you combine everything, we just have to get him playing more football," he added.

North Dakota, Northern Iowa, South Dakota and South Dakota State all offered Scott. Even Nebraska extended a walk-on invite. None of those schools wanted him in their backfield. He said he figured playing defense would get him on the field sooner, anyway.

Scott rushed for 684 yards on just 62 carries in his final prep season during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 campaign. That's an average of 114 yards per game. He also added four catches for 37 yards and found the end zone eight times.

So, what kind of back are the Cowboys getting?

"I would like to say I am a do-it-all running back," Scott said. "I think I can do just about anything. I have a lot of power behind my frame, but I have some shake to me. I can still get out and run and I have great speed. I just have a lot of things. I'm very versatile."

Craig Bohl agrees.

"He's embraced that change," he said. "We're excited about him. He's making progress."

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

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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