Wyoming football released its post-spring depth chart earlier this week. For a look at it, click the link below:
To me there were not a lot of big surprised, but a couple of small ones.
At running back, I was both a little surprised and happy to see sophomore Milo Hall as the starter — not that I have anything against the other two guys: junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet. But based on what the coaches said throughout spring, all three backs will play this season and the competition will continue into fall camp. That’s not saying Hall’s No. 1 spot is a fluke. But as I’ve written before, I think this will be a running back by committee type year for UW, and the guy who is playing the best will get the majority of the carries.
It’s the same deal at tight end. Juniors Josh Harshman of Casper or Austin Fort of Gillette — according to the depth chart — would start if there was a game played right now. Junior Tyree Mayfield is third. UW played three tight ends last season, even though senior Jacob Hollister was by far the go-to guy in the pass game. Harshman, Fort and Mayfield all will play, and likely will play a lot this season. Although, I will say it’s nice to see two Wyoming kids doing well at that position.
At both cornerback spots, senior Robert Priester and sophomore Tyler Hall came out of spring as the starters. I wasn’t surprised by Hall as he seemed to have the best spring of all of UW’s corners. I was somewhat surprised at Priester being No. 1 ahead of senior Rico Gafford, who started every game last season. But like at running back, all of UW’s corners on the post-spring depth chart (junior Antonio Hull is the backup behind Hall) will play, and based on how fall camp goes and how each play from game to game, the starters could get switched up.
Speaking of Tyler Hall, he and sophomore cornerback Davion Freeman are the Cowboys’ No. 1 kickoff return tandem coming out of spring. There’s a lot of speed there. Freeman had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the third quarter called back by a holding penalty. Freeman also showed some elusiveness as a punt returner, although he enters fall camp as the back up there behind sophomore wide receiver Austin Conway. If the Cowboys can be solid and mistake-free in blocking for any of these guys, there could be some big returns this season.
It was also nice to see a couple of walk-ons emerge in the two-deep roster through the spring. Sophomore Ben Wisdorf, a Cheyenne East graduate, is the backup behind sophomore Cassh Malauia at weak-side linebacker — or WILL. Sophomore Brent Gilliland is the backup at defensive tackle behind fellow sophomore Youhanna Ghaifan. I expect Gilliland to play quite a bit this season as UW doesn’t have a lot of options right now at nose tackle and defensive tackle in terms of depth.
UW is banking on senior Ryan Cummings (foot) and junior Brinkley Jolly (shoulder and academics) to be ready for fall camp. Both were listed as 1-2, respectively at right offensive tackle. Hope that is the case. Another walk-on who was solid this spring — sophomore Pahl Schwab of Afton, played right tackle this spring, but is listed as the backup at left tackle behind junior Zach Wallace. Converted defensive lineman Dalton Fields, a senior, is the backup at left guard behind redshirt freshman Jace Webb. Neither guy has played a snap in a game at offensive line for the Cowboys. I also think the competition at center between sophomore Gavin Rush and junior Cole Turner will continue in fall camp. I also wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of the five offensive linemen UW signed competes for playing time this fall. If I had to pick one, it would be Patrick Arnold (6-3, 290) from Gretna, Nebraska, to help either at guard or center.
To sum this up, and fourth-year coach Craig Bohl said this during the spring, this post-spring depth chart is somewhat fluid heading into fall camp. Some positions are more locked in than others, such as quarterback (junior Josh Allen), fullback (senior Drew Van Maanen), middle linebacker (sophomore Logan Wilson) and both safety spots (juniors Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps) are some examples.
But a lot of positions still have some uncertainty, and it may take most or all of fall camp to figure out the answers.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the post-spring depth chart.
Check out the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, along with wyosports.net, this weekend as there will be updates on what former UW football players get taken in NFL Draft, which concludes on Saturday. Sunday, I have a cool story on a former UW quarterback who had an 11-year playing career in professional football. Do you know who that is?