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. 20 – Trent Gamble

Safety, 1996-99, Denver, Colo.

Résumé in Laramie
Trent Gamble picked off six passes during his time as a Wyoming Cowboy, including three during his senior season. In 1998, the Wyoming secondary was ranked 28th in the country in scoring defense. In ’97, the Pokes were even better. Gamble and Co. finished sixth in the nation in pass defense and picked off a school-record 24 passes. Gamble was compared to John Wendling and Guy Tuell in the weight room, breaking numerous records for a defensive back.

Why Gamble?
“Hard work and dedication can pay off for the little guy,” the Colorado newspaper states after
Trent Gamble was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Miami Dolphins.

At 5-foot, 10-inches (to be generous) and 195 pounds, Gamble was a “little guy” when it comes to playing the safety position. But he hit like a ton of bricks and had a nose for the football. Gamble picked off six passes during his time in Laramie and served as a run stopper for a tough Cowboy defense coached by Mark Stoops, who currently coaches at the University of Kentucky.

Gamble ran a 4.3 40-yard dash and could lift the weight room.

One game where his speed and strength were on full display was in Colorado Springs in 1999.

When is the last time you heard Air Force scoring only seven points?

That happened on Sept. 25.

The first play of the second quarter, No. 24 Air Force was on the Wyoming 2-yard line, facing fourth-and-goal. Going for the touchdown instead of the field goal, halfback Scotty McKay took a pitch and ran to the outside. Gamble met him there and dumped him for a loss.

"It was a big play when we needed it," Gamble told reporters. "But we had to play awesome all day."

In the third quarter, the Falcons were threatening again. This time, they completed a 12-yard pass to Matt Farmer, who was destined for the end zone. Instead, He got a fist full of Gamble, fumbling the ball into the arms of Wyoming linebacker, Jared Jarnagin.

“(He’s) an outstanding football player. He'll probably be drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft, and he's playing to that level right now," Dana Dimel said postgame.

The previous year, the Falcons came to War Memorial Stadium and put a screeching halt on the Cowboys plans to win a WAC title. Air Force won 10-3.

This wasn’t exactly redemption, but it lifted the Pokes to 3-1 on the season and Dimel called it the “biggest win of my career.”

The win snapped the Falcons 11-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation at the time. The Falcons were the second-best rushing tram in the nation. Gamble and the Pokes held them to 262 yards on the ground, 68 under their average.

Gamble played in a time when the safety position was in good hands at UW. Names like Al Rich, Matt Lehning and Brian Lee were some of the best hitters in the country. Gamble left his mark, too.

In 2000, Gamble became a member of the Miami Dolphins. His speed and aggressiveness made him a special teams dynamo. He finished his four-year NFL career with 22 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown.

Honorable mention
Speaking of awesome defensive backs, Julius Stinson was a stud for the Pokes, too.

The California cornerback picked off nine passes and made 152 tackles during his three-year career in Laramie. He sacked the quarterback twice and made 8.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage from 2005-08.

Stinson was named one of 12 finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2007. That honor is given annually to the best defensive back.

Shout out to Blair Burns (2011-14) who finished his career with six interceptions from the corner position. Ivan Harrison (2003-06) has some tough-earned yards during his time in Laramie, rushing for 771 yards and six touchdowns.

Who else wore No. 20
Steve Washington (DB), Lafran Simmons (WR), Eric Loftus (SE), Chad Denton (RB), Vince Colbert (CB), Aaron Wilson (S), Dustin Ralph (WR), Ryan Handford (CB), Trendt Marson (LB), Nehemie Konkolongo (RB), Fred Jones (CB), Justice Murphy (WR), Esaias Gandy (S), Jevon Bigelow (RB), Ryan Marquez (QB)

  • All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.