Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 37
CHEYENNE -- Do you ever see a number on a Wyoming football jersey and think of all the great players to wear it? Yeah, me too. In this daily series, I’ll give you my take on which Pokes’ football player was the best ever to don each number. The criteria are simple: How did he perform at UW? What kind of impact did he have on the program?
No. 37 – Lee Vaughn
Safety/ cornerback, 1993-96, Cheyenne, Wyo.,
Résumé in Laramie
Lee Vaughn was named first-team All-Conference during his senior season in 1996 after recording 75 tackles and an interception. He earned WAC Honorable Mention after his junior campaign in which he picked off a career-high three passes at the cornerback position. Vaughn, a Cheyenne East graduate, finished his career with 220 tackles and five interceptions. Vaughn lettered all four years under Joe Tiller and helped lead the Pokes to a 10-2 record and a berth in the WAC title game his senior season.
It was one of the most dominating performances in school history.
Offensively, defensively and on special teams.
Wyoming blasted Hawaii 66-0 in the Western Athletic Conference opener in Laramie in 1996. The Rainbow Warriors amassed just 154 yards of total offense that afternoon, 72 of which came through the air. Hawaii finished with six first downs and completed only seven passes.
Leading up to the game, Hawaii’s coaching staff was worried about Wyoming wide receiver Marcus Harris and how they would contain the eventual Biletnikoff Award winner. That was a legit concern. Harris caught seven passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
What the ‘Bows didn’t expect was the defensive onslaught, led by Cheyenne’s Lee Vaughn.
Vaughn recovered a pair of fumbles in the victory. He finished with just four tackles. The safety, alongside the school’s all-time leader in interceptions, Brian Lee, helped shut down Hawaii’s passing attack and gave opposing receivers fits. Hawaii passed midfield just a single time all afternoon. That came with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter.
It wouldn’t happen again.
Wyoming would go on to win 10 games in 1996, clinching a berth in the inaugural WAC Championship game in Las Vegas. They won the division after a comeback win in the snow in Fort Collins. They swept their way through the nine weeks of the season, mostly in dominating fashion.
Vaughn earned first-team All-WAC honors that season. The senior compiled 75 tackles, 10 pass deflections and an interception during that magical run.
That season capped a magical career, too.
Vaughn recorded 220 tackles, five interceptions and 27 pass deflections in three-plus years of work in Laramie. He roamed the defensive backfield, intimidating anyone who dare come over the middle. He was also versatile, switching from safety to cornerback as a junior.
Three Cowboys were drafted into the NFL from that 1996 squad. Steve Scifres went in the third round and Harris was selected in the seventh. Vaughn heard his name called in the sixth round, joining Scifres with the Dallas Cowboys.
It had been since 1989 that Wyoming witnessed three players be selected into the NFL Draft.
Vaughn’s NFL career was short lived thanks to an ACL tear in training camp. He played in NFL Europe, the Arena Football League, the Indoor Football League and spent one season in the Canadian Football League before eventually hanging up his cleats in 2003.
Another ACL injury derailed his professional football dreams for good.
Jerry Marion (1964-66) was a split end and punt returner for the Cowboys Sun Bowl Championship team in 1966. That season ended with a 28-20 win over Florida State in El Paso, but that wasn’t the last of the accolades for Marion.
The Bakersfield, Calif., product was named to the All-WAC first-team and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 10th round of the 1967 AFL Draft.
Marion was one of the best returners in the nation in 1964, setting the single-season record with 26 yards per return. He racked up 519 yards on just 20 punts that season.
Let’s give a punter some love.
Tom Waring (1999-00) is still eighth all-time in program history, averaging 42 yards per punt during his two seasons in Laramie.
After a 10-7 victory over No. 25 Air Force in 1999, Waring was named Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week.
Waring averaged 47.2 yards per punt in his six attempts that day in Colorado Springs. Three were downed inside the Falcons 20-yard line, including one landing inside the 10. Air Force’s average starting field position that day was its own 24-yard line.
You know how crucial that is against an option team.
After that game, Waring moved up to No. 10 in the nation in punting average.
Who else wore No. 37
Jim Glover (S), Trey Reeves (FL), Bryan Hysaw (RB), Jay Wojtkiewicz (DE), Scott Parker (K/P), Matt Barella (LB), Brandon Albright (CB), Luke Kellum (S), Alex Langer (K), Josh Calvert (LB), Tristan Dietz (FB)
- All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.