LARAMIE -- Wyoming's defense has taken a massive hit this offseason.

The Cowboys have lost five players to graduation, including middle linebacker Chad Muma, who chose to forgo his final season in Laramie and enter the NFL Draft. Six others have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.

You can tally another one to the latter category.

Solomon Byrd announced via Twitter Friday he will be leaving the program and looking to finish out his playing career elsewhere. Wyoming's former defensive end capped his tenure at UW with 87 tackles, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles.

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"Wyoming! Thank you for the past four years here," Byrd tweeted. "I’m grateful for the opportunity to play this game at a blue collar institution, I will be parting ways and enter the transfer portal. Thank you to the cowboy country for embracing me! Thank you."

Byrd, a Palmdale, Calif., native, was recruited by Army, Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State out of William J.P. Knight High School. There, the 6-foot-4, 249-pound two-star commit racked up 155 total tackles, including 75 solo stops. He totaled 16 sacks to go along with six forced fumbles.

His best season in Laramie came in 2019 when he tallied 45 tackles and a team-high 6.5 sacks. Byrd opted out of the 2020 season because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last fall, he appeared in just eight games, registering 37 tackles and 3.5 sacks before suffering a shoulder injury against San Jose State that would sideline him the remainder of the season.

Byrd will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Now without the services of Garrett Crall, Jaylen Pate, Victor Jones and Byrd, Wyoming's defensive ends room just got a whole lot younger. Only four players -- Teagan Liufau, Jack Boyer, Sabastian Harsh and DeVonne Harris -- have seen the field. The other defensive ends on the roster are: Tyce Westland, Micah YoungOluwaseyi Omotosho and incoming freshman, Kevin Sjogren.

Esaias Gandy, Crall and Braden Smith exhausted their eligibility, and CJ Coldon, Azizi Hearn, Keyon Blankenbaker, Jones, Pate, Byrd and Rome Weber entered the Transfer Portal.

Wyoming's only returning starters on the defensive side of the ball are outside linebacker Easton Gibbs, nose tackle Cole Godbout, nickel back Keonte Glinton and interior lineman, Jordan Bertagnole. It's not clear if defensive tackle Ravontae Holt will return this fall.

Spring practice in Laramie -- and the Cowboys annual NFL Pro Day -- is scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 29.

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