Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 24
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. 24 – Gene Huey
Split end/ defensive back, 1966-68, Uniontown, Penn.
Résumé in Laramie
During his three years on the varsity roster, Gene Huey caught a team-high 98 passes for 1,517 yards (15.5 yards per catch) and 14 touchdowns. His touchdown receptions are still good enough for eighth in program history. Huey was a major player in one of the best eras of Cowboy football, helping lead Wyoming to a win the 1966 Sun Bowl and one of the best teams in school history, the 1968 squad, which finished a perfect regular season and played in the Sugar Bowl. Huey broke 13 receiving records at UW and was a standout defensive back, too. Huey was selected to play in two post-season All-Star games after his senior season.
The Wyoming football program has often been referred to as “Wide Receiver U.”
With names like Ryan Yarborough, Marcus Harris, Jovon Bouknight and others, it’s no wonder why. This moniker had to begin somewhere though. And the initial star at the wide out position was Gene Huey.
Huey set 13 receiving records at Wyoming and was the team’s leader in 1967-68. Huey was a star on a team full of them. During his sophomore season, the Cowboys won the Sun Bowl, defeating Florida State, 28-20. During his junior campaign, the sixth-ranked Pokes went undefeated during the regular season before falling to LSU in the Sugar Bowl, 20-13.
Huey caught the last pass of that game. He was tackled around the Tigers’ five-yard-line. That day in New Orleans, Huey caught seven passes for 40 yards.
Huey was Mr. Consistency during his time in Laramie. He snagged his 98 catches from three different quarterbacks – Rick Egloff, Paul Toscano and Skip Jacobson. The Cowboys won the Western Athletic Conference championship all three years Huey was on the roster.
Did I mention he played defense, too?
Huey became the first and only WAC player to earn post-season accolades on offense and defense. He was not only a split end, but a standout defensive back all three years.
During his senior season, Huey snagged 43 passes for 626 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns. He also earned Sports Illustrated’s “Lineman of the Week” honors during a 48-3 win over Utah State. Huey finished that season with 25 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass breakups.
Huey played in the All-American Bowl and the East-West Shrine game before being selected in the fifth round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.
After playing two seasons in the NFL, Huey came back to Laramie to start his coaching career. He also roamed the sidelines at New Mexico, Nebraska, Arizona State and Ohio State. He then went to the NFL where he served as a running backs coach for the Indianapolis Colts.
Huey became a stalwart in Indy, coaching for 15 seasons. Under Tony Dungy, Huey and the Colts won the 2007 Super Bowl. Huey coached Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James to rushing titles.
Huey was inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.
This was not an easy decision. This guy could’ve easily slid into the “best to ever wear No. 24” category.
Let’s call him: 1A
Chris Prosinski (2007-10) was a fan-favorite at UW. Not only did his leadership, hitting ability and all-out play endear him to fans, the fact that he was a native son from Buffalo didn’t hurt, either.
Prosinski is the fifth all-time leading tackler in school history with 373. His 2009 campaign was one of the best the program has ever seen. The lightning quick safety racked up a team-leading 140 tackles. It is still the fourth best mark in the record books.
Prosinski stepped in for a fellow beloved Wyoming native, John Wendling, and didn’t disappoint. He became an all-conference player. He picked off five career passes. He recovered a fumble against TCU and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown.
In a 17-16 road win over arch-rival Colorado State in 2009, Prosinski was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week. All he did that day in Fort Collins was hammer out nine solo tackles, a tackle for loss and force a fumble. His biggest play that day came with the Rams standing at the Wyoming four-yard-line late in the fourth quarter.
Prosinski flew across the line to tackle CSU running back Dion Morton for a two-yard-loss. CSU settled for a field goal, leaving the door cracked for a Wyoming comeback. That’s exactly what happened.
The win made the Pokes bowl eligible for the first time since 2004.
The Cowboys would go on to beat Fresno State, 35-28, in the New Mexico Bowl.
Remember that goal-line stand?
Bulldogs head coach, Pat Hill, sure does.
"If you can't put it in from the 1-yard line, you have to give a lot of credit to the defensive stand by Wyoming," Hill told reporters. "We had our chances."
Prosinski and Co. stood tall.
He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
We need to give a shout out to Robert Rivers (1990-91), a wide receiver and kick returner. In 1991, Rivers was named the WAC Special Teams Player of the Year. He also had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 1990 Copper Bowl, a 17-15 loss to California. Rivers returned two punts for touchdowns in his two seasons in Laramie.
Imagine if he would’ve played two more?
Who else wore No. 24
Tim Norris (TB), Latrail Jones (WR), Peter Gunn (HB), Waymon Levingston (WR/DB), Justin Hopkin (S), Eddie Johnson (S), Eric Lee (CB), Andre LaCaille (CB), Dorsey Golston (DB), Kenny Browder (S), Cody Clem (WR), Zaquoya Parham (CB), Omar Stover (RB), Kevin Jackson (S), Braden Smith (CB), Jerard Swan (WR), Mike Patolo (FB)
- All available rosters and photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.