UW’s All-Decade Team
LARAMIE -- Another decade has come and gone.
Another group of great Wyoming football players has come and gone, too.
We thought now would be an appropriate time to look back on some of the best players to wear the brown and gold over the past 10 seasons in Laramie.
There were some good ones. In fact, some really good ones. Some that didn't even make this list. Here is our first-team Wyoming offense, defense and specialists of the 2010's.
Let the debate begin.
QB -- BRETT SMITH (2011-13)
This Salem, Oregon, native, played just three seasons in Laramie before forgoing his senior year to enter the NFL Draft. He did some serious damage to the school's record books in a short amount of time. Brett Smith has the most touchdown passes in school history (76), and is second behind only Casey Bramlet in passing yards (8,834), attempts (1,212), completions (751). Smith owns the most total yardage (10,365) and touchdowns responsible for in Wyoming lore (97). Smith works back in his hometown in Oregon.
RB -- BRIAN HILL (2014-16)
It doesn't take much searching to find Brian Hill's name in the Cowboy record books. The Belleville, Ill., product is the program's all-time leading rusher with 4,287 yards. His 35 rushing touchdowns is also the most in Wyoming history. And it only took him three years to do it. Hill rushed for a single-season record 1,860 yards in 2016. He also scored 22 touchdowns as he helped lead the Pokes to a Mountain Division title. Hill is currently a running back for the Atlanta Falcons.
FB -- DREW VAN MAANEN (2014-17)
This tattooed bully from Parker, Colo., opened plenty of holes in opposing defenses for Brian Hill and others. He also was key in keeping Josh Allen upright. Drew Van Maanen did the dirty work. He didn't rack up big numbers, but he was always a fan favorite. And more importantly, a team favorite. His moment in the sun came during a November blizzard when he dove for an Allen pass against Colorado State, picking up 17 yards on a big third down late in the game. Wyoming went on to beat its Border War rival that night. No one was happier than Van Maanen. The fullback caught 14 passes for 170 yards during his limited four-year career. He was invited to camp by the Houston Texans after graduation and has since been making clothes for "I live by joy apparel."
WR -- TANNER GENTRY (2013-16)
A favorite target of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, Tanner Gentry hauled in 1,326 yards on 72 receptions during his senior season. Gentry also scored 14 touchdowns that year. It was the sixth-best single-season performance by a Wyoming wide out. And that's saying something. Gentry is fifth all time in receiving yards in school history with 2,815. His 180 catches is good enough for eight all time. The Aurora, Colo., product's 20 touchdown grabs sets him up at No. 4 in program history. Gentry is currently a wide receiver in the new XFL for the New York Guardians.
WR -- DOMINIC RUFRAN (2011-14)
Dominic Rufran might have had the quietest career of all the big name receivers to come through Laramie. He wasn't flashy like Ryan Yarborough. He didn't rack up the hype like Marcus Harris. He didn't have the size of Malcom Floyd or the quickness of Jovon Bouknight, but his name is right in the middle of all those greats after recording 2,487 receiving yards, which is good enough for seventh in program history. The Colorado Springs native finished his career with 203 catches (5th) and 15 touchdowns (7th) mostly off the right arm of Brett Smith. Rufran is currently an insurance agent in the Denver area.
OL -- CHASE ROULLIER (2012-16)
Chase Roullier was a quiet model of consistency on for the Cowboys front five during his four years on campus. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 312-pound bruiser anchored the line that led to Brian Hill racking up nearly 4,300 rushing yards in just three seasons. The Savage, Minn., product was an unsung hero on the Cowboys 2016 team that played for a Mountain West title at War Memorial Stadium. Roullier is now the starting center for the Washington Redskins.
OL -- RYAN CUMMINGS (2014-17)
Not many opponents around the Mountain West cared for Ryan Cummings. He preferred it that way. The Littleton, Colo., native was mean, physical and a tad flamboyant at times, getting under the skin of the guy across from him on a weekly basis. Cummings, standing 6-feet, 5-inches and weighing nearly 300 pounds, never backed down from a challenge. He was also a key reason Brian Hill became Wyoming's all-time leading rusher. Each time Hill would find the end zone, Cummings would find the running back and lift him high into the air. After a brief stint in the now defunct Alliance of American Football League, Cummings is heading to Los Angeles to play for the XFL's Wildcats.
OL -- SAM STERNER (2007-10)
Sterner played in just 12 games this decade, but he was that dominant during his senior campaign. Former teammate, Jordan Van Royen, called hims an "old fashioned, nasty offensive lineman." The Waconia, Minn., native opened gaping holes for Alvester Alexander, Robert Herron and freshman signal caller, Austyn Carta-Samuels, who amassed more than 1,400 yards rushing. And remember, this was a spread 'em out passing team under second-year head coach Dave Christensen. According to his LinkedIn profile, Sterner is system design/ lead buyer for SJF Material handling in his native Minnesota.
OL -- KEEGAN CRYDER (2018-present)
This current sophomore center easily won the "War Daddy Trophy" this season for the most knockdowns by a Cowboy lineman. He was named a freshman All-American after a stellar 2018 season that saw him lead the way for the Mountain West's top running back, Nico Evans. He's followed that up with another big year, opening lanes for Xazavian Valladay, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in week 11. The Littleton, Colo., product is the
"Steady Eddie" of this current unit and started all 12 games this season.
OL -- LOGAN HARRIS (2017-present)
This guy is country strong, according to his position coach, Bart Miller. Logan Harris, a junior and Torrington native, has seen the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows during his tenure in Laramie. He went from starting 13 games as a freshman to one start as a sophomore. Now, he is the muscle of the Pokes offensive line, which has been one of the best in the nation this season. Harris has blocked for some of the top runners in the league -- Sean Chambers, Nico Evans and Xazavian Valladay. When the dust settles, Harris could be one of the best linemen in Wyoming history.
TE -- JACOB HOLLISTER (2104-16)
Josh Allen had plenty of targets during his time in Laramie, but one of his favorites was the always reliable Jacob Hollister. In just three seasons, the Beaverton, Oregon native snagged 75 passes for 1,114 yards and 12 touchdowns. His best season came in 2016 when the big tight end caught 32 passes for 515 yards and seven scores. Hollister was also a key blocker in leading Brian Hill to the top of the Wyoming record books. Hollister is currently a starting tight end for the Seattle Seahawks.
DL -- EDDIE YARBROUGH (2012-15)
This guy will always be remembered for his trademark smile, but when the lights came on, Eddie Yarbrough went to work. Like Dominic Rufran, Yarbrough's stats are sneaky good. He is the program leader in tackles for loss with 39. He's ninth all-time in sacks with 21.5. He had three sacks in a game twice during his career in Laramie. His four tackles for loss against UNLV in 2012 is still the best single-game performance. The Aurora, Colo., native is currently on the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills.
DL -- CARL GRANDERSON (2015-18)
This guy was so skinny when he got on campus, head coach Craig Bohl said if he stood sideways "you couldn't see him." Neither could offensive lineman. Carl Granderson was a menace for opposing tackles, racking up 16.5 sacks in his four-year career in Laramie. The Sacramento, Calif., native's 16 tackles for loss in 2016 is the second-best mark in program history. He's third all-time in that category with 35.5. Granderson had a nose for the football. He picked off three passes and returned one for a touchdown. He also forced three fumbles and took one of those to the house, too. Granderson is currently a defensive end for the New Orleans Saints.
DL -- JOSH BIEZUNS (2008-11)
Ask Colorado State about this guy. Josh Biezuns got to Rams quarterback Pete Thomas 3.5 times in a 44-0 rout of the Pokes Border War rival in 2010. He added four tackles for loss that day, too, for good measure. The Minnesota native wasn't just a one-trick pony, either. Bizeuns racked up 189 tackles, 15 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles during his career in Laramie. His 31 tackles for loss is still the third best mark at Wyoming. In 2011, he finished with 11 of those.
DL -- YOUHANNA GHAIFAN (2015-18)
Though his career didn't end the way he -- or the university -- wanted it to, there is no denying Youhanna Ghaifan was a disruptive force on the Cowboys defensive line. The Grand Island, Neb., product, racked up 15.5 tackles for loss during the 2017 season, which is still good enough for the third-best single-season performance in school history. Ghaifan had 69 tackles and seven sacks that year, too, while earning all-Mountain West Conference First-Team honors. In just parts of three seasons, the big defensive tackle tallied 135 tackles and 27 tackles for loss. He finished his career with 11 sacks and four forced fumbles.
LB -- LUCAS WACHA (2013-16)
Lucas Wacha is another player that quietly made his way up the charts into the top of the record books. The undersized linebacker from Texarkana, Texas, finished his career with 344 tackles, which at the time was seventh all-time at Wyoming. Wacha also recorded 21 tackles for loss, which put him in the top 10. He also recovered four fumbles and forced two more. Wacha is currently on the Tampa Bay squad of the new XFL.
LB -- GABE KNAPTON (2008-11)
Big beard. Big tattoos. Big hitter. That's how most will remember Gabe Knapton. Though he played just two seasons in this decade, he was a terror for opposing quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends. Safe to say offensive linemen didn't like him either. Knapton was in on all four stuffs at the line of scrimmage to help lift the Cowboys to a New Mexico Bowl victory in 2009. He flipped the page to the next 10 years with 148 tackles in his final two seasons. He also finished with 10.5 sacks in those final 25 games. The Mead, Colo., product racked up 368 career tackles. When he graduated, he was fifth all time in that category. His 22.5 tackles for loss is good enough for ninth in program history. Knapton is currently a member of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
LB -- LOGAN WILSON (2016-present)
It would be easier to name the awards Logan Wilson was not up for this year. The Casper product has put together on of the best career's in school history already, and he still has one game to play, the 2019 Arizona Bowl in Tucson Dec. 31. The three-time team captain has 414 career tackles to his name, which is currently good for fourth in school history. It's also third in MWC history. Wilson, who was named an All-American by various outlets, was up for the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation's top linebacker. His stats certainly put him right up top. Wilson has 34 career tackles for loss, 10 interceptions, four fumble recoveries to go along with four forced fumbles, and seven sacks. Wilson has been the unquestioned leader of the Cowboys this fall and will likely hear his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft.
S -- ANDREW WINGARD (2015-18)
When you lead your conference in all-time tackles, you are special. And you are certainly making this list. The Arvada, Colo., native tallied 454 tackles during his four years in Laramie, tying him for first place all time with New Mexico's Carmen Messina. Andrew Wingard didn't get a lot of recognition out of high school despite being the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year. He thought about snow skiing for a living. Boy, are the Wyoming faithful glad he decided against that. Wingard picked off 10 passes, which is good enough for third all-time in program history. His 25 tackles for loss places him sixth in the record books. He is the third leading tackler to wear Steamboat on his helmet, behind only Jim Talich (440) and Galand Thaxton (467). Wingard is currently a safety for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
S -- MARCUS EPPS (2015-18)
This guy started his career as a walk-on. By the time he left Laramie, he was one of the top safeties in college football. Definitely one of the best to come out of Wyoming, which has been known to pump out a top safety or two. Marcus Epps wrapped up his collegiate career with 324 tackles, including 18.5 for loss. He picked off nine passes and forced five fumbles. His best season came in 2016 when he tallied 111 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles to go along with six tackles for loss. Epps is currently a safety for the Philadelphia Eagles.
DB -- TASHAUN GIPSON (2008-11)
They don't come much more athletic than Tashaun Gipson. In his two seasons playing in this decade, the cornerback turned safety recorded 135 tackles and six interceptions for the Cowboys. Gipson, who played along side his brother, Marcell Gipson, in the Pokes secondary, is fourth in program history with nine interceptions. His two picks against UNLV in 2009 is still good enough for fifth all time. Gipson didn't just have a knack for taking away the football, he loved to hit, racking up 250 career tackles, including eight for loss. Gipson, a Dallas, Texas, native, is currently a safety with the Houston Texans.
DB -- MARQUESTON HUFF (2010-13)
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Marqueston Huff cemented himself as one of the top defensive backs in the nation during his time in Laramie. Huff, a Texarkana, Texas, product, picked off four passes while also tallying 249 career tackles. He also racked up seven tackles for loss and recovered five fumbles. Huff's 20-tackle game against Utah State in 2013 is still the third best single-game performance in school history. During that same season, he recorded 18 against Nebraska. After a five-year NFL career, Huff is now on the roster with the XFL's Houston Roughnecks.
PK -- COOPER ROTHE (2016-present)
When you're the program's all-time leading scorer, you are simply one of the best to every do it. That can be said for Cooper Rothe, who now has 334 points to his name, passing Sean Fleming for the all-time lead in a home win this November over Colorado State. In 2018, Rothe connected on 16-of-17 field-goal attempts and hit all 28 of his points-after tries. He was named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the nation's best place kicker. The Longmont, Colo., native was also selected as the 2018 Special Teams Player of the Year in the MWC.
P -- ETHAN WOOD (2013-2016)
A school record 271 punts left the right foot of Ethan Wood during his four-year career at Wyoming. The Colorado Springs native came to UW as a place kicker, and left as one of the most efficient punters of the 2000's. He averaged 41.6 yards per boot, which puts him in the top 10 all time in program history. What made Wood even more special is the obstacles he overcame in Laramie. In August of 2014, his parents, John and Resia Wood, died in a small plane accident. Wood stayed in school, got his degree and became one of the best.
KR -- TYLER HALL (2016-present)
Tyler Hall has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, which is the most in Wyoming history. The speedster from Hawthorne, Calif., has 26 returns to his credit. He's recorded 845 total yards for an average of 32.5 per kick. Always a threat to take on to the house, Hall's 2017 campaign saw him average a program-best mark of 39 yards per return.
PR -- AUSTIN CONWAY (2016-present)
Remember when Austin Conway came to Laramie on a basketball scholarship? That seems like so long ago. Conway has gone from point guard to the top punt returner in the Mountain West during his four-year career on the gridiron. Conway ducked, weaved and sped his way past UNLV defenders to take back his lone punt return for a touchdown in his career -- so far. Conway, an Aurora, Colo., native, leads the conference this season, averaging 11.1 yards per return. His 942 career yards will make him one of the best to ever do it in Laramie.