Harrison Waylee Named Wyoming’s Starting Running Back
LARAMIE -- "Or"
That's a word that could be found on the Wyoming depth chart after the name of each running back.
Harrison Waylee is now the unquestioned starter in the Cowboys' backfield after rushing for 110 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown run, Saturday night in Austin during a 31-10 loss at then fourth-ranked Texas.
It was the ninth time in Waylee's career he eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground.
"I can tell you that after this last game, Harrison separated himself," Craig Bohl said Monday during his weekly press conference. "It's not like there's going to be a whole lot of other/ or's, Harrison will be our lead guy."
How did Waylee solidify the job?
"I think everybody saw his explosiveness," Wyoming's head coach added. "I mean, he ran away from the Texas secondary. So, the future looks bright."
Making his debut in a Cowboys' uniform, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior made an immediate impact with that long jaunt to the end zone on just the fifth offensive snap of the night. He averaged 6.1 yards on 18 carries against the Longhorns.
While he recovered from "knee reconstruction" in the offseason, Jamari Ferrell was named the opening-day starter. The 5-foot-8, 200-pound transfer from Camelback Community College (Calif.) had a rough outing in the win over the Red Raiders, rolling up just 21 yards on seven attempts. He also fumbled early in the first quarter, leading to a quick Texas Tech touchdown.
Sam Scott, a linebacker-turned-running back, got the start in Week 2. The Nebraska product rolled up 44 yards in that 35-33 victory over Tech and added a 16-yard touchdown and the game-clinching two-point conversion in the second overtime.
Against Portland State, Scott led the Cowboys with 70 yards on 11 carries but also fumbled on the team's opening possession, halting a 6-play, 53-yard drive. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound sophomore didn't receive a single carry.
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DQ James, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound speedster from Lancaster, Texas, has averaged just three yards an attempt so far on 34 carries. He has 102 rushing yards and also coughed up an early fumble against the Red Raiders.
"You'll see these other guys sprinkled in with what kind of skill set they bring," Bohl said when asked about the rotation in the running back room.
Appearing in just 22 games during a three-year stint at Northern Illinois, Waylee netted 1,929 yards on 373 carries. He also found the end zone 11 times on the ground and once through the air for the Huskies.
Waylee rushed for 179 yards against Wyoming back in 2021. That came on 26 attempts and he scored a pair of touchdowns, including a 75-yarder in a 50-43 loss.
Starting quarterback Andrew Peasley didn't play in Austin thanks to an AC sprain in his throwing shoulder. He had a front-row seat to Waylee's performance from the visiting sideline.
"He's a good running back -- and I've known that," Peasley said. "That solidified it for me. He's got that dog in him as we say. But, yeah, I was really happy for him. He's been working his butt off every day."
Waylee said he was "out of shape" and breathing hard after that long touchdown run hushed more than 100,000 in attendance inside Darrell K. Royal Stadium last Saturday night.
Could've fooled them.
"I mean, me personally, I know I'm fast," he said with a smile. "I was pretty cool. I saw that hole and I hit it. I'm thinking someone is going to chase me down because they are (defensive backs). DS's are usually fast, but they didn't catch me. I felt fast."
Waylee and the Cowboys (2-1) will host Appalachian State (2-1) Saturday night inside War Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.