LARAMIE -- AJ Cooper doesn't like labeling his players.

When asked if freshman pass rusher Solomon Byrd is a star in the making, Cooper, Wyoming's defensive ends coach, said it's a possibility -- but he isn't going there quite yet.

Cooper said Byrd hasn't even scratched the surface of his potential.

His coach doesn't want to label him, but the The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) did.

The association announced its 2019 FWAA-Shaun Alexander Freshman All-America Team presented by Stand Together on Monday and Wyoming redshirt freshman defensive end Solomon Byrd was selected to this year’s team.

Byrd is one of only 14 freshmen in the nation on defense to be named to this year’s FWAA Shaun Alexander Freshman All-America Team and one of only 32 total freshmen in the country to earn the honor this season. He joins other recent Cowboys Keegan Cryder (Center in 2018), Logan Wilson (Linebacker in 2016) and Andrew Wingard (Safety in 2015) to earn the honor from the Football Writers Association of America.

Byrd, a redshirt freshman from Palmdale, Calif., led the Wyoming Cowboys with 6.5 sacks on the season. He was second on the team in tackles for loss, with 9.5, and he totaled 45 total tackles. 

Byrd added three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. In Wyoming’s 38-17 win over Georgia State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, Byrd recorded five tackles and 1.0 tackle for loss to rank third among Wyoming Cowboys in tackles for the game.

Here is the 2019 FWAA-Shaun Alexander Freshman All-America Team.



Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Hometown

DL Gregory Rousseau, Miami 6-6 251 Coconut Creek, Fla.

DL • George Karlaftis, Purdue 6-4 265 West Lafayette, Ind.

DL Solomon Byrd, Wyoming 6-4 243 Palmdale, Calif.

DL • Kayvon Thibodeuax, Oregon 6-5 242 South Central Los Angeles, Calif.

LB Devin Richardson, New Mexico State 6-3 233 Klein, Texas

LB • Omar Speights, Oregon State 6-1 233 Philadelphia, Pa.

LB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia 6-3 240 Marietta, Ga.

LB • Shane Lee, Alabama 6-0 246 Burtonsville, Md.

DB Ar’Darius Washington, TCU 5-8 175 Shreveport, La.

DB • Derek Stingley, Jr., LSU 6-1 190 Baton Rouge, La.

DB • Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame 6-4 240 Atlanta, Ga.

DB Verone McKinley III, Oregon 5-10 192 Carrollton, Texas

DB • Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati 6-2 185 Detroit, Michi.

DB • Tykee Smith, West Virginia 5-10 184 Philadelphia, Pa.


Pos. Player, School Ht. Wt. Hometown

QB • Sam Howell, North Carolina 6-2 225 Indian Trail, N.C.

QB • Kedon Slovis, USC 6-2 200 Scottsdale, Ariz.

RB Javian Hawkins, Louisville 5-9 182 Titusville, Fla.

RB • Sincere McCormick, UTSA 5-9 200 Converse, Texas

WR • David Bell, Purdue 6-2 210 Indianapolis, Ind.

WR • C.J. Johnson, East Carolina 6-2 229 Greenville, N.C.

WR • Dante Wright, Colorado State 5-10 165 Navarre, Fla.

OL • Evan Neal, Alabama 6-7 360 Okeechobee, Fla.

OL • O’Cyrus Torrence, Louisiana 6-5 342 Greensburg, La.

OL • Ikem Ekwonn, N.C. State 6-4 308 Charlotte, N.C.

OL • Sean Rhyan, UCLA 6-4 323 Ladera Beach, Calif.

OL Nick Rosi, Toledo 6-4 290 Powell, Ohio

OL Travis Glover, Georgia State 6-6 330 Vienna, Ga.


P • Austin McNamara, Texas Tech 6-4 175 Gilbert, Ariz.

K Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma 6-2 175 Chardon, Ohio

KR • Joshua Youngblood, Kansas State 5-10 180 Tampa, Fla.

PR Kyle Phillips, UCLA 5-11 181 San Marcos, Calif.

AP Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis 5-11 183 Yazoo City, Miss.

•  Denotes true freshman


Ryan Day, Ohio State

2019 FWAA Freshman All-America Committee: Shaun Alexander; Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal (MW); Mark Blaudschun, (ACC); Scott Dochterman, The Athletic (Big Ten); Michael Griffith, Freshman Focus; Mike Griffith, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Chair/Independents); Tommy Hicks, Freelance (Sun Belt); Ron Higgins, Tiger Rag (SEC); Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star (Big 12); Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel (American Athletic); Nick Piotrowicz, Toledo Blade (MAC); Steve Richardson, FWAA; Grant Traylor, Huntington Herald-Dispatch (Conference USA); Ryan Young, (Pac-12).

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