Do Those Recruiting Stars Really Matter at Wyoming?
LARAMIE -- What do all those stars mean behind an incoming football recruits name?
Squat. Diddly squat.
That's not just coach speak, either. Since 2002, the same year Rivals.com started keeping tabs on classes and prospects, Wyoming has landed just two four-star players. That was a pair of offensive linemen Jon Hawk (2002) and Deshawn Woods (2022).
Neither played a single snap in Laramie.
Let's take a look at some of the Cowboys over the last two-plus decades who came to UW with two stars or less behind their name and flourished:
John Wendling - Safety - Rock Springs, Wyo.
This Cowboy State native registered 154 tackles and picked off seven passes out of the Wyoming secondary. He parlayed those numbers -- along with his freakish athleticism -- into becoming a sixth-round selection of the Buffalo Bills in the 2007 NFL Draft. Wendling played in the league for seven seasons.
Chase Johnson - Tackle - Loveland, Colo.
This former First Team All-Mountain West selection never missed a start -- 47 games -- in his career in Laramie. Johnson appeared in the First Annual Inta Juice North-South All-Star Classic in 2007.
Derrick Martin - Cornerback - Westminster, Colo.
This speedy corner snagged six-career interceptions and tallied 134 tackles in just 30 games in a UW uniform. Martin was the first-ever player to leave school early and declare for the NFL Draft. It paid off. The Denver-area product was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2006 draft. He played in the NFL for parts of eight seasons and won a pair of Super Bowl championships.
Wynel Seldon - Running back - Plano, Texas
The crafty Texan rushed for 2,672 yards and 22 touchdowns during his four-year stint on the high plains. Seldon is still the fifth-leading rusher in Wyoming history, just 264 yards behind former backfield teammate Devon Moore.
John Fletcher - Defensive end - Erie Colo.
His 36 tackles for loss is still the second-best mark in UW history. Fletcher tallied 14 of those in 2007 and brought down the ball carrier four times in the 2009 season opener versus Weber State. That is still tied for the most ever in Laramie. Fletcher capped his career with 175 tackles and 24 sacks. The latter number ranks him fifth in program lore.
Chris Prosinski - Safety - Buffalo, Wyo.
This local racked up 373 tackles during his four-year career in Laramie. That still ranks Prosinski sixth all-time. Like Wendling, Prosinski was known for his athletic ability. Jacksonville snagged the Buffalo native in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played in the league for parts of seven seasons, also spending time in Philadelphia and Chicago.
Josh Biezuns - Defensive end - Prior Lake, Minn.
This guys 3.5 quarterback sacks in a 2010 meeting with Border War rival Colorado State is still the third-best mark in program history. Biezuns finished the afternoon with four total tackles for loss, which is still tops in the school record books. The Minnesota native capped his career with 31 TFL's.
Brian Hendricks - Linebacker - Burlington, Colo.
Twenty-three. That's the number of tackles Hendricks wrapped up in a 2009 meeting with Air Force, most in program history. The Colorado product also added 309 career stops to go along with three sacks and the same number of forced fumbles. Hendricks is currently the defensive ends coach at UW and recruits his home state.
Alvester Alexander - Running back - Houston, Texas
This Houston product rushed for 2,127 yards in just three seasons in Laramie. He added 27 touchdowns on the ground, which still ranks him fourth all-time in that category. Alexander is best known for his record-breaking performance in 2010 against CSU where he found the end zone five times in a 44-0 rout of the visiting Rams.
Mike Purcell - Defensive tackle - Highlands Ranch, Colo.
The big man tallied 197 total tackles, including 15 for loss and four sacks, during his playing days at Wyoming. Purcell also forced three fumbles and a rather large safety. That came on a sack in the end zone against CSU in 2011. It made the score 22-19. That would be the final. Purcell has played in the NFL for parts of seven seasons and is currently entering his fifth year with the Denver Broncos.
Dominic Rufran - Wide receiver - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Rufran's 2,487 receiving yards still ranks seventh most in UW history. The Colorado native did that damage on 203 grabs, which is fifth most in program lore.
Brett Smith - Quarterback - Salem, Ore.
Only Casey Bramlet threw for more yards than this Oregon native, but no one tossed as many touchdowns -- 76. That was exactly 20 more than Bramlet. And it took just three years for Smith to do that. He also added 20 scores on the ground. Smith helped break a Mountain West record in 2013, throwing for 498 yards and seven touchdowns in a victory over Hawaii. Smith capped his career with 10,365 yards of total offense. You guessed it, the most in program history.
Chase Roullier - Tackle - Burnsville, Minn.
Just last week Roullier announced his retirement from the NFL after spending six seasons in Washington. This Minnesota native was an All-Conference performer throughout his career in Laramie and was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Shaun Wick - Running back - Ventura, Calif.
No stars. That's how highly thought of Wick was out of high school. All he did was rush for 2,533 yards -- the seventh most in program history -- during his injury-riddled career in Laramie. He also added 21 touchdowns.
Tanner Gentry - Wide receiver - Aurora, Colo.
All this guy did was snag 180 passes for 2,815 yards and 20 touchdowns during his four-year stint at UW. Gentry, who announced this offseason he was retiring from football after appearing in seven NFL games, ranks fifth in yards, eighth in receptions and fourth in receiving touchdowns.
Nico Evans - Running back - Los Angeles, Calif.
This ball carrier rushed for 1,325 yards during the 2018 campaign. That was the fourth best single season in school history. Evans finished his career with 1,433 total yards on the ground. Shows you just how special his senior season was.
Brian Hill - Running back - Belleville, Ill.
Wyoming's all-time leading rusher, Hill gashed defenses to the tune of 4,287 yards. And it took him just three seasons to do it. Hill also capped his career with three 1,000-yard seasons and a program best 35 touchdowns. Atlanta selected Hill in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Since, he has also spent time in San Francisco and Cincinnati.
Jacob Hollister - Tight end - Yuma, Ariz.
This pass-catcher snagged 75 passes for 1,114 yards and 12 touchdowns in just three seasons in Laramie. Currently a free agent, Hollister has played in the NFL since 2017. He won a Super Bowl title as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Hollister has also played for New England, Jacksonville, Minnesota and Las Vegas.
Josh Allen - Quarterback - Firebaugh, Calif.
This relative no-namer came to Wyoming after spending a season at Reedley College (Calif.) Allen garnered zero stars out of high school but snagged a couple after a year in junior college. While at Wyoming, Allen threw for 5,066 yards and 44 touchdowns in parts of just three seasons as a starter. He also rushed for 767 yards and a dozen more scores. Allen went on to become the highest draft pick in UW history, going No. 7 overall to Buffalo in 2018.
Andrew Wingard - Safety - Arvada, Colo.
No safety in school history has as many tackles as Wingard. The Colorado native tallied 454 of those, landing just 13 stops behind Galand Thaxton for the most ever in a Wyoming uniform. Wingard would add 25 tackles for loss, four sacks and 10 interceptions during his career in Laramie. After going undrafted in 2019, Wingard has become a staple on the Jaguars special teams and in the secondary.
Logan Wilson - DB/ Linebacker - Casper, Wyo.
Speaking of the best tacklers in UW history. Wilson finished with 421 of those, which ranks him fourth all-time. The Casper product added 34.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and 10 picks. Wilson was selected by the Bengals in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Last season he was the team's leading tackler with 123 stops.
Carl Granderson - Defensive end - Sacramento, Calif.
During the 2017 season, Granderson tallied 8.5 sacks and 78 tackles, including 16 for loss. The lanky defensive end, who received zero stars out of high school, also returned a fumble for a touchdown in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl that season. Granderson racked up 173 total tackles, 35.5 TFL's, 16.5 sacks and three interceptions during his career in Laramie. Granderson is currently his fifth season with the New Orleans Saints after going undrafted in 2019.
Cassh Maluia - Linebacker - Paramount, Calif.
This outside linebacker registered 197 tackles and four career interceptions while playing alongside Logan Wilson and Chad Muma in Laramie. Maluia was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.
Cooper Rothe - Kicker - Longmont, Colo.
Wyoming's all-time leading scorer, this right-footed kicker was true on 59 field goals and 165 extra points during his four-year stint in Laramie. Rothe racked up 342 career points.
Tyler Hall - Cornerback - Gardena, Calif.
Hall finished with 108 tackles and four interceptions during his Wyoming career. Also a special team standout, the California product returned to kicks for scores during the 2017 season. Hall is currently a member of the Las Vegas Raiders after going undrafted in 2020.
Xazavian Valladay - Running back - Chicago, Ill.
Wyoming's second all-time leading rusher, Valladay capped his UW career with 3,281 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Chicago native would go on to play his final season at Arizona State, where he tacked on 1,192 more rushing yards and 16 scores on the ground. Valladay signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent after not being selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Chad Muma - Linebacker - Parker, Colo.
A starter for just two full seasons (also started six games during 2020 COVID-19 shortened campaign), Muma tallied 266 tackles, including 19 for loss to go along with 5.5 sacks. The Colorado native also picked off three passes and scored two touchdowns during his career in Laramie. Muma was selected by Jacksonville in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Titus Swen - Running back - Ft. Worth, Texas
Swen eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground in what would be his final season in a Wyoming uniform. The Texans rushed for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022 before being kicked off the team for a violation of team rules. Swen capped his three-year tenure at UW with 2,161 rushing yards, landing his just outside the Top 10 in program history.
Isaiah Neyor - Wide receiver - Arlington, Texas
Before bolting to Texas in the transfer portal, Neyor put together one of the best seasons in recent memory, hauling in 44 passes for 878 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also added a score on the ground during the 2021 season. Neyor capped his brief career in Laramie with 52 catches for 1,126 yards and 15 total touchdowns.
Emmanuel Pregnon - Guard - Denver, Colo.
A Freshman All-American, according to College Football News, Pregnon also left in the transfer portal this offseason and eventually signed with USC. Starting at the right guard spot, Pregnon helped pave the way for Titus Swen, who rushed for 1,039 yards during the 2022 season.
Other notable two-star -- or less -- players since 2002: Josh Barge (Wide receiver), Julius Stinson (Defensive back), Weston Johnson (Linebacker), David Leonard (Wide receiver), Chris McNeill (Wide receiver), Blair Burns (Defensive back), DJ May (RB/ Linebacker), Chase Appleby (Defensive tackle), Eric Nzeocha (Linebacker), Robert Priester (Cornerback), Tyree Mayfield (Tight end), Austin Fort (Tight end), Ryan Cummings (Offensive tackle), Youhanna Ghaifan (Defensive tackle), Alijah Halliburton (Safety), Keegan Cryder (Center)
Current notable players who received a two stars or less: Jack Walsh (Offensive line), Kolbey Taylor (Cornerback), John Michael Gyllenborg (Tight end), Wrook Brown (nickelback), Cole Godbout (Defensive tackle), Frank Crum (Offensive tackle), Braden Siders (Defensive end), John Hoyland (Kicker), DeVonne Harris (Defensive end), Easton Gibbs (Linebacker), Treyton Welch (Tight end)
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players