Wyoming Football: 2022 Breakout Candidates
If the Cowboys are able to extend their run of bowl eligibility for another year, these players might end up as significant reasons for it.
The program’s track record could mean big things for these guys.
The Wyoming Cowboys might have missed a big chance at a breakthrough in 2021, but don’t let that fool you into thinking Craig Bohl’s team is on the way down and out. Yes, Chad Muma is in the NFL now and a number of players transferred to Power 5 programs and elsewhere, but the Pokes have been through this rodeo before.
Wyoming has, after all, seamlessly replaced quality running backs season after season and has also had to replace talents Andrew Wingard and Logan Wilson in years past. That means these players could be in line to make a splash this fall.
Isaac White, S
White stepped into the starting lineup in the second half of 2021 after injuries cut Esaias Gandy’s season short and held his own, racking up at least four tackles in each of the Cowboys’ last six contests while also tallying his first career interception (coincidentally, against current Wyoming QB1 Andrew Peasley) and two tackles for loss in the team’s Potato Bowl victory over Kent State.
It seems likely he’ll hold on to the starting free safety role headed into the fall, so he’s as good a bet as any to be one of the next development success stories in Laramie.
Nofoafia Tulafono, OL
With multiple spots on the offensive line up for grabs headed into 2022, some new faces are almost certain to pick up a role in Wyoming’s rotation. Tulafono, a Victorville, California native listed at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds on the current roster, might have an inside track to one of those jobs after chipping in on spot duty at both center and guard last season. He definitely has the size that has typically made the Cowboys offensive line a punishing one and made a good impression in spring practices, so he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Love to see your former players making huge gains, @Nofoafia77 was always a very hard worker in the weight room, and the story continues, keep becoming the best you can be. @FTGU_760 pic.twitter.com/urNXDu2Puv
— Rick Notarianni (@rickroan65) March 29, 2021
DeVonne Harris, DE
Every single one of Wyoming’s major contributors at defensive end last year have either moved on to the pro ranks (Garrett Crall) or left the program through the transfer portal (Victor Jones, Jaylen Pate, Solomon Byrd) so, just like on the offensive line, opportunities abound for a new crop of Cowboys edge rushers. Harris is the only one left on the current roster with extensive in-game experience, though, playing well in a brief stint against Boise State at the end of 2020 and then playing over 100 snaps in 2021, meaning he could be the new tip of the spear as Wyoming restocks its pass rush.
Dawaiian McNeely, RB
If Titus Swen is the new Xazavian Valladay, then McNeely might be the new Titus Swen. He never played more than six snaps in a game last season, but the potential for explosive playmaking was evident when he averaged 6.65 yards per carry on 17 attempts. And while it may have happened because of a small sample size, McNeely also ranked third among all Mountain West running backs with an overall PFF grade of 83.8, trailing only Hawaii’s Dedrick Parson and… Titus Swen. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Dawaiian McNeely tip-toes the sideline and takes it 64 yards to the house. Gold team leads 26-22 with 4:39 left. pic.twitter.com/DZTItsqXZu
— Josh Criswell (@criswell_sports) April 30, 2022