Wyoming RB Jamari Ferrell Sits Atop Initial Fall Depth Chart
LARAMIE -- Injuries nearly derailed Jamari Ferrell's football dream.
They also opened up a golden opportunity for the junior running back this fall.
The 5-foot-8, 200-pound JUCO product sits atop Wyoming's initial depth chart, which was released by head coach Craig Bohl on Monday afternoon. Dawaiian McNeely was thought to be the top back before suffering a torn ACL nearly two weeks ago. Harrison Waylee, a transfer from Northern Illinois, is expected to miss the first "couple games" while he recovers from offseason knee surgery.
"He's our starter," Bohl said. "We felt like he scrimmaged really well. Many times, as a back --we did team reps today -- you get some idea, but, OK, can the guy separate? Can he break a tackle? All of those types of things. When the lights were on, he really played well. So, we're excited about him."
Ferrell spent the previous two seasons at Saddleback Community College (Calif.) in his hometown of Mission Viejo. As a sophomore, he was named First Team All-National Division for the Southern League as an all-purpose back after rushing for 453 yards on 101 carries while also snagging 15 passes for 118 more.
Ferrell, who finished with three touchdowns on the year, also returned two kickoffs for 30 yards en route to rolling up 601 all-purpose yards in 2022.
Schools -- "big ones," Ferrell said -- disappeared during the recruiting process thanks to a severe hip injury and a broken shin. He initially attended Independence Community College in Kansas where he was eventually kicked off the team.
Wyoming entered the picture this offseason in large part due to past relationships. Ferrell played high school football with current tight end Colin O'Brien and safety Brenndan Warady. They told Bohl and the rest is history.
"The night I committed I went home and cried with my mom for probably an hour," Ferrell said in early August. "Just, you know, I finally got it. The job still isn't finished. I still want to complete my dream to go to the NFL, and I have two years to do that. But, I'm here now and God gave me the opportunity to shine and show what I can do. I know where I'm supposed to be."
DQ James, who is recovering from a torn ACL he sustained late in the 2022 campaign, is medically cleared and is currently listed as Farrell's backup. The Lancaster, Texas, native rushed for 346 yards on 40 attempts last fall. That's an average of 8.6 yards per carry for the 5-foot-7, 170-pound speedster.
Sam Scott is listed at No. 3 on the depth chart. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Nebraska product originally came to Laramie as a linebacker. Before last December's Arizona Bowl he was moved to the Cowboys' backfield. He finished with 11 yards on three carries in his debut.
Any other surprises on the Pokes' two-deep?
Bohl was asked early in camp, what happens if newly-crowned All-American placekicker John Hoyland gets hurt?
Now, we have that answer.
Erik Sandvik, a 6-foot-1, 155-pound true freshman is listed as Hoyland's backup with just 12 days to go before Texas Tech pays a visit to the high plains for the season opener.
"He's a walk-on, and I do know his name, unlike John when he first showed up," Bohl joked, referring to not knowing Hoyland's name before his debut in 2020. "He's from Steamboat down there in Colorado, and, you know, for a freshman, he's done fairly well.
"He was a little bit surprised today at the tail end of practice. We were short on scout-team wide receivers, and I asked him if he's got shoulder pads on. He said, 'Yeah,' so I said, 'go down there and tell him you're going to be a receiver.' He kind of looked at me like I was joking. I was serious. He stands sideways, you can't see him."
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Kolbey Taylor has slid into the top spot at cornerback.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound sophomore from Houston has been the unquestioned MVP of the offseason. Deron Harrell, who is still recovering from hip surgery, was listed as the top corner on Bohl's first depth chart, revealed in late July. Taylor will start alongside former Ole Miss transfer, Jakorey Hawkins.
Ian Bell, a true freshman from La Verne, Calif., and Navarro Community College (Texas) transfer, Tyrecus Davis, are listed as backups.
It appears the left guard battle has been won.
Wes King, a 6-foot-5, 301-pound redshirt freshman is listed as the No. 1 after a lengthy competition with Elizabeth, Colo., native Luke Sandy. The Cowboys' starters on the offensive front are Frank Crum (from left tackle to right), King, Nofoafia Tulafono, Jack Walsh and Caden Barnett.
Some were shocked to see transfer wide receivers Devin Boddie Jr. (Vanderbilt) and Ayir Asante (Holy Cross) listed as backups.
"The addition of these two transfer receivers had been a real shot in the arm," Bohl said. "We're really well pleased. You'll see both of those two guys playing in the first game. Now, how much? I don't know. But they will play. A lot of times they're doing some things that are really impressive."
Boddie and Asante missed spring practices while finishing off their degrees. Bohl said both have caught on quickly, but are still getting up to speed in this offense.
Littered with Lone Stars
Wyoming features nine Texans on its initial two-deep roster.
You think those guys don't want a piece of the Red Raiders?
Six of those guys are listed as starters heading into the opener, including nickel corner Wrook Brown (Salado), receiver Alex Brown (Spring), Barnett (Justin), Taylor (Houston), long snapper Carson York (McKinney), WILL linebacker Shae Suiaunoa (Houston) and punter Clayton Stewart (Flower Mound). The others are Davis (Greenville) and James (Lancaster).
Texas Tech did not recruit any of these players, according to the official rosters on gowyo.com.
Other native Texans on the team are: QB Kaden Anderson (Southlake), WR Bricen Brantley (Houston), CB Chauncey Carter (Garland), DE Keelan Cox (Missouri City), CB Josh Dixon (McKinney), DT Dante Drake (Robinson), WR Chase Locke (San Antonio), FB/TE Cooper Mailand (Dallas), DT Lucas Samsula (Plano), WR Justin Stevenson (Katy), Safety Nikos Varelas (San Antonio), DT Jayden Williams (Bryan) and LB Micah Young (San Antonio).
* You can find the Cowboys' full depth chart in the tweet listed above
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