Wyoming’s defensive got thinner, at least figuratively, as defensive end Ben Durbin will play his senior season at Iowa State.
Durbin graduated from UW with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and NCAA rules allow student-athletes to transfer to other schools and play right away if they’ve received their bachelor’s and choose to pursue a higher degree elsewhere.
A story on Cyclones.com was published Wednesday, and UW media relations director Tim Harkins confirmed that Durbin wouldn’t return to the Cowboys. Durbin is from Gilbert, Iowa.
“I wanted to play for Cyclone Nation,” Durbin told Cyclones.com. “I can play in front of my family. This is God’s Country to me and I have always been an Iowa State fan. … Laramie is a great place. This is not about Wyoming. … Coming home is a dream.”
Durbin was recruited by Mike Breske, the defensive coordinator when Joe Glenn was UW’s coach at UW from 2003-08. He was recruited as a linebacker, but two years ago moved to defensive tackle. Durbin played defensive end in the spring and was slated as a starter after spring drills.
Durbin had 28 tackles and 3.5 for loss last season, and 16 tackles in 2010.
According to UW’s post-spring depth chart, senior Miraldo Michel and junior Jeff Roueche are Durbin’s backups. On the other side there is highly-touted redshirt freshman Eddie Yarbrough, who is the backup to projected starter Sonny Puletasi — a sophomore.
Junior-college transfer Justin Bernthaler could get a chance to help right away. He doesn’t arrive until fall camp, but he was rated as the second-best junior-college weakside defensive end in the nation by JCGridiron.com, and the 58th-best junior-college recruit in California by 247Sports.com.