UW’s Top 50 football players: No. 13
LARAMIE -- During this summer series we are going to countdown the Top 50 football players in Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.
The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.
This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining me is Robert Gagliardi, Jared Newland, Ryan Thorburn and Kevin McKinney. We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is more fair.
Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter page @7220sports.
Linebacker, 2015-19, Casper, Wyoming
Here's why: Logan Wilson is the Cowboys' fourth all-time leading tackler with 421 takedowns in his four-year career in Laramie.
That's impressive enough to land on this list.
Wilson is looking up at only Galand Thaxton (467), Andrew Wingard (454) and Jim Talich (440) in that category. However, it was Wilson's knack for causing the turnover that made him truly special.
The linebacker from Casper picked off 10 career passes, including four during his senior season. He forced five fumbles. He recovered an additional four. Wilson also scored three defensive touchdowns.
His 35 tackles for loss ranks him fourth in program history behind only Eddie Yarbrough (39), John Fletcher (36) and Carl Granderson (35.5). Those 10 interceptions also have him ranked third all time, tied with Mark Thomas and Wingard.
Wilson came to Wyoming in Craig Bohl's second season on the sidelines in Laramie. The Pokes won just twice. In 2016, when Wilson slid into the starting role at middle linebacker, UW punched its ticket to the Mountain West title game and later a date with rival BYU on the Poinsettia Bowl. Wilson was part of a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and Arizona Bowl championship, too.
Recruited as a safety, Bohl often joked that he knew Wilson was never going to play in that spot at the collegiate level. Instead, the Natrona County Mustang would pack on the pounds and quarterback the defense a little closer to the line of scrimmage.
I'd say that worked out.
In 2016, Wilson was named the league's Freshman of the Year. He earned second team All-Mountain West honors as a sophomore. He was an honorable mention in the conference the following two seasons. Pro Football Focus, USA Today and the Associated Press labeled Wilson an All-American as a senior.
In the spring of 2020, Wilson was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tucker's take: Seriously? Logan Wilson? Again?
That was often my thought as the Wyoming public relations staff brought Logan Wilson out to the podium after a game. It's not that Wilson was a bad guy or didn't have anything interesting to say, he was just the "company man," not about to spew anything remotely controversial no matter the outcome of the game we just witnessed.
This guy was a Wyoming Cowboy to the core. Not just because he is from Cody and later moved to Casper, but because he's a humble, hard-working tough guy -- the face of the franchise, if you will.
Despite the lack of color to his comments, aside from saying "it sucks to be a CSU Ram" after knocking off the Pokes' Border War rival -- for the fourth straight year -- in 2019, you always knew you were witnessing greatness and that Wilson still had plenty of football ahead of him in the future. He was destined for the NFL. I don't think anyone was surprised when the Bengals selected him in the third round in 2020.
Wilson was the perfect ambassador for Craig Bohl's program. When he trusted Bohl's vision and came in 2015, things weren't good. Wyoming put together a two-win season. Still, Wilson and others kept their commitment and turned the tide in 2016, helping land the Cowboys in the Mountain West championship game.
No. 30 was in the middle of all of it.
He had a nose for the football and quietly went about his business, racking up 409 tackles and 10 interceptions.
I will always remember Wilson as a steady presence on the Cowboys defense. I'll never forget that headband he wore, featuring Wyoming's state flag. His undefeated career against CSU won't soon be forgotten either.
Wilson may not have dished out the fun quotes that get people to buy newspapers, but it was an honor to be around him each and every week. He was a professional long before he signed a pro contract.
How the panel voted: Cody Tucker (11), Robert Gagliardi (14), Jared Newland (13), Ryan Thorburn (13), Kevin McKinney (29)
Previous selections: No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14
Cody Tucker: Brand Manager and creator of 7220sports.com. Tucker has covered the Cowboys since June of 2019, but was a season-ticket holder for nearly three decades. Tucker has also covered Michigan State University Athletics for the Lansing State Journal and Detroit Free Press and the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins during his 10-year journalism career
Robert Gagliardi: Former sports editor and University of Wyoming beat reporter for WyoSports. Gagliardi covered the Cowboys from more than a quarter century. He also covered the team at the Branding Iron, the UW student newspaper. Gagliardi also co-authored the book: The Border War: The Bronze Boot Rivalry Between Colorado State and Wyoming
Jared Newland: Currently the local sales manager for Townsquare Media SE Wyoming, Newland worked with and around Wyoming athletics for 20 years, starting as a student athletic trainer in 1990. Newland has also served in the Sports Information Office, the Cowboy Joe Club, Wyoming Sports Properties and was a UW Athletics Hall of Fame Committee Member from 2002-14.
Ryan Thorburn: Currently covering the Oregon Ducks for The Register-Guard, Thorburn also covered the Cowboys in the early and mid-90's for the Branding Iron and Casper Star Tribune. He has also written four books about Wyoming Athletics: The Border War: The Bronze Boot Rivalry Between Colorado State and Wyoming, Cowboy Up: Kenny Sailors, The Jump Shot and Wyoming’s Championship Basketball History, Lost Cowboys: The Story of Bud Daniel and Wyoming Baseball and Black 14: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Wyoming Football
Kevin McKinney: Currently the senior associate athletics director for external affairs at the University of Wyoming, McKinney also serves as the radio color commentator for Wyoming football and men's basketball. McKinney has been involved with UW Athletics in some capacity since 1972. He was also inducted into the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015.