LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- Ricky White is very familiar with Wyoming's new offensive coordinator.

UNLV's leading receiver and preseason First Team All-Mountain West selection played under Jay Johnson at Michigan State during the 2020 and '21 seasons. Though White caught just 10 passes under Johnson's watch, momentum was starting to build.

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Just ask rival Michigan.

White snagged eight balls against the No. 13 team in the nation, rolling up 196 yards in that 27-24 upset in the Big House. The then true freshman opened the scoring, hauling in a 30-yard strike from quarterback Rocky Lombardi. The Georgia native averaged 24.5 yards per catch that afternoon in Ann Arbor.

That was also Johnson's first year on the sidelines at MSU.

Year 2 was memorable for one, forgettable for the other.

While White sat out the 2021 season due to a suspension and eventually landed in Sin City via the NCAA Transfer Portal, Johnson became one of the top assistants in the nation, leading the Spartans' offense to new heights, including averaging nearly 32 points per game. Kenneth Walker played a major role in that, rolling up a Power-5 best 1,636 yards on the ground. He was rewarded, landing the Doak Walker Award at season's end. Payton Thorne, MSU's redshirt sophomore QB, set a new single-season record with 27 touchdown passes.

Most importantly, the Spartans finished 11-2 overall -- and beat Michigan again -- en route to a Top-10 national ranking and a berth in the Peach Bowl.

Johnson would go on to become a finalist for the Broyles Award that season.

White wasn't a part of that on-field success, but he wasn't exactly surprised.

"I feel like Jay Johnson does a great job at play calling," White said Wednesday afternoon at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas. "He's a great teacher, also. When I was at Michigan State, we had a great connection. He's a great coach. He's a players' coach. He's very passionate about his job."

MSU averaged 429.6 yards of total offense in 2021. More than 250 of those came through the air. Walker and Co. took care of the other 176.5.

"I would definitely say it was very balanced," White continued, speaking about Johnson's scheme. "We had a good variety of receivers and Kenneth Walker was there. He also used his tight ends a lot."

That's music to local ears.

Wyoming's John Michael Gyllenborg Wednesday was named a First Team All-Mountain West selection.

"He's going to use his tight ends," White said. "He uses them a lot."

Johnson has been reluctant to call his offense a "spread" or "prostyle." White agreed, saying it's unique and balanced. The numbers again bare that out. MSU called 400 passing plays that season to go along with 479 rushing attempts.

During spring camp, Johnson also implemented a no-huddle approach, something not seen around these parts in more than a decade. Play calls are being relayed from the sideline. The action is fast-paced. Decision making, precise.

Wyoming and UNLV won't meet on the football field this fall. Last season inside Allegiant Stadium, the upstart Rebels jumped out to a 21-0 lead before cruising to a 20-point victory. White caught a team-high eight passes for 144 yards. He jump started the night with a 56-yard grab on the second play from scrimmage.

It was par for the course.

White led all Mountain West receivers with 1,483 yards. His 105 per game average was also the league standard.

He said he'll be anxious to see what the Cowboys' offense looks like under his former coordinator.

"It's a good offense," White said. "Wyoming is in good hands with Jay Johnson."

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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