(UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Several key performers and an assistant coach from the Wyoming Cowboy Football program have been recognized by Street & Smith’s 2018 College Football Yearbook with preseason honors. The magazine in its section titled “Rating the Mountain West Conference” recognized five members of the Cowboy Football program in the 18 categories it rated. That was the most of any Mountain West school. Street & Smith’s 2018 College Football Yearbook is available at newstands now.
Wyoming senior strong safety and All-America candidate Andrew Wingard, was rated as the “Top NFL Prospect” by Street & Smith’s. The article also points out that Wingard is rated as the second best strong safety in the nation by draftscout.com.
Street & Smith’s tabbed Cowboy junior defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan as the “Best Athlete” in the Mountain West. While you don’t often see an interior defensive lineman rated as the best athlete among all positions on a football team, opposing offensive linemen in the conference would likely agree with this selection as Ghaifan became a force in the league as a sophomore in 2017 joining Wingard on the All-MW First Team last season.
In the category of “Coordinator to Watch”, Wyoming defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton earned that honor while guiding the Cowboys to the No. 1 spot in the league (No. 9 in the nation) in scoring defense, allowing opponents only 17.5 points per game. The Cowboys also led the nation in forcing opponent turnovers, taking the ball away from opponents 38 times. Hazelton’s defense accomplished all that in his first year as the Pokes’ defensive coordinator.
The fourth and fifth Cowboys to be rated as the best in the league are both at the quarterback position. Redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal was selected as the league’s “Top Freshman” by Street & Smith’s. Vander Waal earned the No. 1 spot at QB on the Cowboys’ depth chart at the conclusion of 2018 spring drills.
Competing with Vander Waal for the starting quarterback spot for Wyoming is senior Nick Smith. Smith was selected by Street & Smith’s as the “Top Scholar” in the Mountain West. Smith completed his bachelor’s degree in finance at UW in December of 2017 with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.92. He is now working on a master’s degree in finance at Wyoming.
In addition to the special honors, three Cowboys were named to Street & Smith’s Preseason All-Mountain West Team. Wingard and Ghaifan were joined by senior defensive end Carl Granderson on the First Team Defense.
Street & Smith’s Rating the Mountain West
Andrew Wingard, Strong Safety, “Top NFL Prospect”
Youhanna Ghaifan, Defensive Tackle, “Best Athlete”
Scottie Hazelton, Defensive Coordinator, “Coordinator to Watch”
Tyler Vander Waal, Quarterback, “Top Freshman”
Nick Smith, Quarterback, “Top Scholar”
Street & Smith’s 2018 Preseason All-Mountain West Team
Andrew Wingard, Senior, Strong Safety
Carl Granderson, Senior, Defensive End
Youhanna Ghaifan, Junior, Defensive Tackle