Which Wyoming Cowboy wore it best? No. 5
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. 5 – Brian Hill
Running back, 2014-16, Belleville, Ill.
Résumé in Laramie
Brian Hill was named second-team All-Mountain west as a sophomore, and to the first team as a junior. He holds the program’s single season rushing record with 1,860 yards on 349 carries. After that dominant junior campaign, Hill became Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher with 4,287 total yards. His 35 touchdowns are also a record. He finished with one more than College Football Hall of Famer, Eddie Talboom. Hill also owns four of the Top-10 single best rushing games in school history.
During his first two years in Laramie, it wouldn’t be all that far fetched to say that Brian Hill was the Wyoming offense. He faced nine, sometimes 10 players in the box on any given play. And even though the defense knew exactly who was getting the ball, it never seemed to matter.
Despite only being a part of six wins in his first two seasons, Hill carried the ball 426 times for 2,427 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Most afternoons he looked exhausted. But that didn’t stop the 6-foot, 1-inch, 219-pound bruiser from dishing out punishment. He could run through you or around you – it was the defenders’ choice.
Like this poor soul from Colorado State. Probably should’ve just waved the white flag, buddy:
He entered his junior season less than 500 yards behind Devin Moore for the school’s all-time rushing title.
Hill put on a show, delivering the best rushing season in program history with 1,860 yards rushing on 349 attempts. Yes, 349 attempts. He was a bell cow, to say the least. And with Josh Allen under center, Tanner Gentry, Jake Maulhardt and Jacob Hollister now making the Pokes a legitimate passing team in 2016, the bull’s-eye wasn’t always on No. 5.
Hill is now Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher with 4,287 yards. And he did that in just three seasons, declaring for the NFL Draft after his junior campaign.
He made teams pay. Big time. Just ask Nevada, Fresno State, Eastern Michigan and UNLV.
Against that foursome, Hill put up four of the Top-10 rushing days in Wyoming history. The Wolfpack suffered the worst of it when the Belleville Bell Cow eclipsed 289 yards on 29 attempts. Hill also scored three touchdowns in the 42-34 win in Reno.
And to think, Hill did all that with a stomach virus.
“I did not know Brian was sick," receiver Austin Conway told the Casper Star-Tribune after the game. "And if he was sick, then it’s like Michael Jordan when he played his flu game. I guess Brian played his sick game."
In his second-best single-game performance, Hill, then wearing No. 8, ran for 281 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 2014 road win over Fresno State. He put up 242 against EMU and 232 versus UNLV.
Hill was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. After a brief stint in Cincinnati, Hill was re-signed by the Falcons in 2018.
Devin Moore was the best running back in Wyoming history until Hill came around.
Moore dashed and weaved his way to a then-school record 2,963 yards during his four seasons in Laramie. Like Hill, Moore faced daunting defenses, which keyed on him. Most Saturdays, Moore was the focal point of the Pokes’ offense. And no matter how many men were in the box, Moore always seemed to squeak past at least the first wave. He used his break-neck speed and elusiveness to rush for 1,301 yards in 2008. That is still good enough for the fifth-best single-season in program history.
Moore wore No. 5 proud … but like his rushing title, I’m sure he understands this selection, too.
Then again, he might be thinking, “why did Hill have to switch jersey numbers?”
Hey, No. 5 wasn't an easy decision. There have been some good ones. I want to give an extra shout out to Rico Gafford, who was outstanding in the Pokes' secondary and is now in the NFL, Korey Jones, who was a hard-hitting linebacker from Fort Collins of all places, and Tyler Holden, who snagged a 10-yard touchdown pass in the Las Vegas Bowl.
And even though he left the program, Austyn Carta-Samuels definitely had his moments in the sun, too. I don't think anyone will soon forget his stiff arm against CSU to win the Border War at Hughes Stadium, or his game MVP performance against Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl.
Who else wore No. 5
Chad White (S), Trent Sewell (WR), Jesse Simpson (S), Tyler Finley (CB), Cedric Duncan (DB), Eric Edmond (DB), Jerry Sandoval (S), Kenny Johnson (S), Randy Karliner (S), John Hooper (WR), Glen Johnson (CB), Mark Sheller (CB), Jason Fender (WR), Chuck Kimbrough (S), Esaias Gandy (S)
- All available rosters courtesy of the University of Wyoming. If we missed one, please email Cody@7220sports.com.
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