Will Pelissier dreamed of being a Cowboy one day. Now, it’s real
LARAMIE -- Most fall Saturday's you could find Will Pelissier in Section 28 on the east side upper deck of War Memorial Stadium.
Now, the Big Horn native can be spotted on the Cowboys' sideline wearing a jersey with the No. 83 on it. There's typically a wide grin stretching across his face, too.
He's living a dream.
Sure, Pelissier had other opportunities to play college football. Some schools -- like the Montana State team Wyoming will play in its opener -- even floated the idea of offering him a scholarship.
He never wavered.
"I was coming to games since I was two years old," the freshman wide receiver said. "It just felt right. It felt like what I was meant to do. I know this state has a lot of pride in their football. All I wanted to do was go out and support it."
How about thrive in it?
That's exactly what Pelissier did in the Cowboys' annual spring game last May.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound preferred walk-on snagged four balls for 70 yards. He even hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Levi Williams. Pelissier blew past the cornerback and found a soft spot in the zone. Once he secured the catch, he went toe to toe with safety Isaac White, carrying the fellow freshman into the end zone.
"I ran into my boss (UW Athletics Director Tom Burman) at halftime and he goes, 'is he that good a player?' I said 'yes.' He said the whole Wildcatter (suites) jumped up and down," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said during his postgame press conference that day. "You know, he's been an emerging guy. He's got good speed, positions his body well, and he caused some problems for us on the scout team last year."
Will he make an impact in the Cowboys' passing game this fall?
"We're looking at him," Bohl said last week. "He's a guy that I think could see -- I wouldn't say significant playing time -- but some playing time.
On a brighter note, it's never a bad thing when the head coach has a nickname for you, right?
"You know, we call him Big Horn," Bohl said with a grin.
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Bohl likes to say if he had a quarter for every time someone told him he couldn't win with in-state players, he'd be a very rich man. Pelissier could eventually be one of those guys.
For now, however, he is content with waiting his turn.
Pelissier said this offense has the makings of an explosive one. Super senior Ayden Eberhardt is leader of the wide receiver room and Isaiah Neyor is drawing rave reviews from his coaches, quarterbacks and even the Cowboys' secondary. Alex Brown, Devin Jennings and Joshua Cobbs have high expectations, too.
"We'll have to see how the cards play out," Pelissier said. "We have a ton of talent on this offense and I think we can have one of the most dangerous offenses in the Mountain West, if not the NCAA. So, I'm really excited to see what we can put together."
Those are lofty goals, but then again, is a guy from a town of 480-plus people in the shadows of the Big Horn Mountains even supposed to be here?
Pelissier was a two-time state champion in high school, leading the Big Horn Rams in rushing with 1,502 yards in 2019. He also scored 25 touchdowns on the ground.
That's not all.
He averaged nearly 200 all-purpose yards per outing. He added seven touchdown catches, too.
In the 1A state title game -- a 55-7 thrashing of Cokeville, which coincidentally took place inside War Memorial Stadium -- Pelissier hauled in 214 receiving yards, including a 37-yard scoring strike in the second quarter. He also added a 38 and a 63-yard jaunt into the end zone in the lopsided victory.
Those are fun memories. Like the ones that brought him back to this place on the high plains of Laramie.
He was in attendance when Josh Allen and the Cowboys stunned Boise State in 2016. He came back the following year when the Oregon Ducks were in town. He took his official visit to campus in 2019. It was during the home opener. You might recall that one: Wyoming 37, Missouri 31.
It's those special moments that made this journey unavoidable for Pelissier. He just wanted to be a part of it.
Now, he is.
"I've seen a lot of great games here," he said, looking up at his family's seats. "Every single game, whether it was a win or a loss, it's been an experience and it just made me want to become a Poke more and more.
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players