Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 59
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. 59 – Ryan Cummings
Offensive line, 2014-17, Littleton, Colo.
Résumé in Laramie
Ryan Cummings brought toughness and grit to the Cowboys offensive line for parts of four seasons in Laramie. Cummings blocked for record-breaking running back, Brian Hill, and also protected future No. 7 overall draft pick Josh Allen.
Before he blocked for Wyoming's All-time leading rusher, Ryan Cummings was busy busting open holes at Valor Christian for a guy named Christian McCaffrey.
The 6-foot, 6-inch, 309-pound tackle from Colorado was known for having a bit of a mean streak during his career in Laramie. He knows he didn't make a lot of friends in the Mountain West.
That wasn't his job anyway.
“I feel like I’m a really good guy off the field," Cummings told me last April when he was a member of the AAF's Salt Lake City Stallions. "On the field – there’s a whole other side of me.”
In Laramie, Cummings paved the way for Brian Hill, who broke the school's all-time rushing mark and finished his three-year career with 4,287 yards.
Cummings was a catalyst in the second-best rushing day in school history. That 2016 night in Reno, Nevada, Hill busted one run after another, following Cummings lead to the tune of 289 yards and three touchdowns.
The third best single-game performance also came from Hill. A freshman at the time, Cummings dominated Fresno State's defensive front all night long. Hill took care of the rest, amassing 281 rushing yards and a pair of scores.
Despite a rash of injuries, including a diagnosis of spinal meningitis late in his senior season, Cummings solidified himself as one of the best linemen to ever come through the UW program.
Cummings helped lift the Pokes to a Mountain Division title in 2016. He beat Colorado State and Air Force twice. Cummings played in back-to-back bowl games, including a dominating 37-14 victory over Central Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. That was his last game in a Wyoming uniform.
These big guys can be faceless and nameless. Not Cummings.
He sports diamond earrings and features a booming voice. He has fun on the field, becoming known for a signature move after touchdowns where he would lift the scorer high into the air.
“It’s just a little showtime for the lineman,” he smirked back in April inside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah. “Just get some love, some camera time. The running backs love it. It shows they did such a great job. I’m not like the grumpy old dudes. It’s the opposite for me. I like to keep it fun, light and have a good attitude every day.”
Cummings tried out for the Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans after going undrafted in 2018. Injuries, in his view, hurt his draft stock. Cummings played for the Stallions during their one season of existence and was a member of the Los Angeles Wildcats.
Joe Wahlgren (1990-92) was an offensive tackle for the Cowboys on a historic afternoon in Laramie. Wahlgren was on the field for all six of Sean Fleming's converted field goals in a 34-27 win over Arkansas State.
The Brady, Nebraska, native was a three-year letterwinner for the Cowboys and blocked for tailbacks, Dwight Driver and Terry Hendricks, and quarterback Tom Corontzos. Wahlgren and the Cowboys played in the 1990 Copper Bowl, falling to the Cal Bears in Tucson, 17-15.
Ray Davies (1973-76), also known as "Chubby," was one of many players to help bring the football program back from the dark days of the "Black 14" incident. During Davies first two seasons in Laramie, the Cowboys went 6-16 under head coach Fritz Shurmur, who was tasked with rebuilding the program after the resignation of Lloyd Eaton in 1970.
Fred Akers took the reins of the program in 1975. Wyoming stumbled to a 2-9 record. The 1976 campaign was different. After a Week 2 loss at Michigan State, the Pokes won 7 of its next nine games. Davies, a senior captain on that squad, helped lead Wyoming to a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.
Davies, who was an All-Conference center from Tampa, Florida, blocked for wishbone quarterbacks Don Clayton and Marc Cousins, and leading rusher, Robbie Wright. The Cowboys were upended by Oklahoma 41-6 that day in the Arizona desert. The fact that Wyoming was even there was a victory in many people's eyes.
Who else wore No. 59
Dan Kowalski (C), Jeff Tapp (C), Kevin Walden (DB), Micah Christensen (LB), Ben Murphy (DE), David Gough (OT-LS), Zeb Whipp (LB), Reece Hall (LB), Andrew Crow (OL)
All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.