Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 9
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. 9 – Jovon Bouknight
Wide receiver, 2002-05, Denver, Colo.
Résumé in Laramie
When Jovon Bouknight left Laramie, he was 20th all-time in NCAA history for both career receiving yards (3,626) and career receptions (250). He is second all-time in Mountain West history in each of those two categories. Bouknight is Wyoming’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 5,921 and kick return yards with 2,016. He is third all time in yards and touchdowns with 3,626 and 29, respectively. As a senior, Bouknight was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Trophy, given to the nation’s top receiver. He was also an honorable mention All-American.
If there was a Mount Rushmore dedicated to Wyoming wide receivers, Jovon Bouknight would be the third head chiseled into the rock.
His career receiving yards suggest he’s No. 3. He finished his four years in Laramie with 3,626 yards, just behind Ryan Yarborough (4,374) and Marcus Harris (5,518). All three are in the NCAA Top-50 all-time in yards. He caught a pass in a then-school record 47 straight games.
If there was a four-face monument dedicated to the best Cowboys in the history of the program, Bouknight would have a case there, too. His 5,921 all-purpose yards are the most ever. More than Harris. More than Yarborough.
Bouknight, standing 6-foot, 1-inch and 195 pounds, racked up 2,016 kick return yards, and holds the school record for most returns with 85.
Oh, and did I mention he threw three touchdown passes, too? And one of them just happened to come at the right time, helping snap a six-game bowl loss streak on a cold December night in Sin City.
Trailing UCLA by 11 early in the fourth quarter of the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl, Bouknight was on the receiving end of a pitch on a double reverse. Rolling to his right, he reared back and delivered a perfect 22-yard scoring strike to back-up quarterback, JJ Raterink. That play ignited the comeback for Joe Glenn's Cowboys.
The LA Times dubbed Bouknight “simply marvelous” in the 24-21 upset win over the Bruins. He caught five passes from Corey Bramlet for 107 yards that night – his fourth consecutive 100-game. He also had 70 yards worth of kick-return yards.
Here's one of those catches:
The following season, the Denver native hit Jason Wallace for a 16-yard touchdown pass at Colorado State. In 2004, in a home game against Ole Miss, Bouknight once again took an end-around and tossed a strike to Josh Barge in stride for a 69-yard, game-clinching touchdown. Bouknight added a 14-yards touchdown catch that day, too.
And he wasn’t done torching the “big boys.” Bouknight hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass in The Swamp against Florida, and another at Ole Miss. That one was from 29 yards out. It also came in a 24-14 victory in Oxford.
Did we mention he can coach?
After a 10-year stint on the staff at MWC-rival Utah State, Bouknight followed head coach, Matt Wells, to Texas Tech – for a minute, anyway. Bouknight was eventually offered the wide receivers’ coach job at the University of Oregon. His first season in Eugene will be this fall.
What couldn’t Bouknight do?
And, oh, by the way, wouldn’t the Snowy Range above Lake Marie be a perfect place for that masterpiece?
By the time his career is all said and done, Tyler Hall will probably still be second on this list. Bouknight is that good.
Hall, who is currently a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, is solid, though. In fact, the 5-foot, 10-inch, 190-pound speedster is already the school record holder for kickoffs returned for a touchdown with two. Both happened in 2017 – and in back-to-back games -- a 97-yarder against Hawaii and a 95-yard jaunt against Texas State.
He’s not too shabby at cornerback, either. He forced two fumbles and picked off a pair of passes in 2017. Last season, he had 10 pass breakups and another forced fumble while sharing time between the corner and nickel position.
He’s Wyoming’s “Honey Badger,” according to new defensive coordinator, Jake Dickert.
That’s good news for UW fans, because in 2019, the senior might be the Pokes’ best cover guy.
Tip of the cap to former wideout, Jalen Claiborne. He caught 108 passes for 1,518 yards. He also found the end zone 13 times.
Who else wore No. 9
Bob Davis (RB), Bryan Mooney (QB), Dax Crum (QB), Nate Hanson (WR), Terrance Hendricks (RB), Adrian Boston (CB), Matt Grupp (QB), Lamar James (CB), Brian Ellis (QB), TJ Atwater (DB), Austin Daniels (CB), Sam Stratton (QB), Patrick Hartford (LB)
- All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.
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