Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 1
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. 1 – Derrick Martin
Cornerback, 2003-05, Denver, Colorado
Résumé in Laramie
Martin made 134 tackles in just 30 games for the Cowboys. He picked off six passes and scored three touchdowns. He was named second-team All-Mountain West at the cornerback position in 2004. Martin earned all-conference honorable mention honors as a junior.
Not only did Derrick Martin score a touchdown in his first game at Wyoming – it was his first collegiate play. The true freshman picked up a blocked punt at the six-yard-line and dove into the end zone to give the Cowboys an early lead over visiting Montana State.
"The ball was just bouncing around forever, it seemed like," Martin told reporters in 2003 after the 21-10 season-opening win over the Bobcats. "I just felt it in my hands and went for it."
Martin always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. And he always had a big smile and some eager trash talk to go with it.
The Denver product finished his three-year career with six interceptions for Joe Glenn’s Cowboys.
Martin wasn’t only a shut-down corner, he also returned a punt for a touchdown – and a school-record second blocked punt for six.
As a sophomore, he was a catalyst in the Pokes’ resurgence, which included a stunning 24-21 win over heavily favored UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.
“And then of course the Las Vegas Bowl -- that was a great memory,” Martin said. “Not many people believed we could beat UCLA, but we believed we could and we did. I can remember our fans coming on the field afterward.
“It was a great night to be a Cowboy.”
The 5-foot, 10-inch, 215-pound Martin was the first Wyoming football player to ever leave school early, declaring for the draft after his junior season. Since, Josh Allen, Alvester Alexander, Brett Smith and Brian Hill have all left UW for the NFL with a year of eligibility remaining. Martin was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Martin would join a defense with Hall of Fame names like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.
Martin would play for five teams over his eight-year pro career, winning back-to-back Super Bowls with the Packers and Giants in 2010 and 2011, respectively. He became one of only three players in NFL history to win two championships in a row with different teams. He also played for New England and Chicago.
Wide receiver David Saraf (1995-96) was one of Josh Wallwork's many go-to targets on the outside. The big QB connected with Saraf for a pair of touchdowns in the 1996 WAC Championship in Las Vegas.
This beauty put the Pokes ahead in the fourth quarter:
Saraf finished his two seasons at UW with 100 receptions for 1,420 yards and nine touchdowns. Saraf was a nice compliment to a wide receiving corps which included Marcus Harris, Richard Peace, and a young duo of Kofi Schuck and Wendell Montgomery.
Who else wore No. 1
Darnell Clash (Returner), Sam Stratton (QB), Jalen Claiborne (WR), Kody Sutton (RB), James Caraway (RB), Junior Marcellus (SS), Clifford Hendricks (WR), Willie King (WR), Derrick Browning (SS), Monty Frier (LB), Sidney Lewis (CB), Stephon King (CB), William Holland (WR), Quincy Rogers (FS), Scott Runyon (QB/P), Andre Plummer (WR)
- All available rosters courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.