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.

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This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining me is Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan 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.

 

Ryan McGuffey

Wide receiver, 2000-03, Riverton, Wyoming

 

Here's why: If Marcus Harris, Wyoming's all-time leading receiver and former Biletnikoff Award Winner, says he was impressed with your career -- unsolicited -- you're landing on this list.

"He was balling and making big-time plays," Harris said about McGuffey, who ranks sixth in school history with 2,679 receiving yards.

McGuffey knew all about winning in high school, leading the Riverton Wolverines to back-to-back state titles.

College, well, that was a different story.

During McGuffey's freshman season, despite snagging 63 passes for 696 yards and hauling in four touchdowns, the Cowboys went 1-10 under first-year head coach Vic Koenning. It didn't get much better from there, though McGuffey and quarterback Casey Bramlet shared a unique connection throughout their time together in Laramie.

McGuffey was part of just nine victories -- four of which came during his senior season -- during his four-year stint in Laramie. He never cracked 1,000 yards receiving either. Still, he was a steady presence in one of the darkest periods of the program's history along with fellow receivers Malcom Floyd, Scottie Vines, and later, Jovon Bouknight.

McGuffey earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors as a freshman and was named Honorable Mention two more times. He still ranks fourth in receptions with 239. Fifteen of those came against UNLV during McGuffey's sophomore season.

That is tied for the third-most catches in a single game in UW history.

 

Tucker's take: McGuffey was listed around 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, but he seemed to play much bigger than that. He could go up and get it. He could also reach out, lay his body on the line, and still come up with the grab. Keep in mind these were teams that were winning one and two games a season. It would've been easy to let those passes go right on by.

Despite the mounting losses in those days, McGuffey, Bramlet and that receiving corps always seemed to make it interesting. Yeah, there were plenty of blowouts, but there were also a number of shootouts, including a heartbreaking 49-48 overtime loss in Las Vegas in 2002. Wyoming also gave BYU, Utah, San Diego State and Colorado State all they could handle that season.

McGuffey will never be confused for names like Ryan Yarborough, Harris or Bouknight, but he put together a stellar career in Laramie. Plus, he's a Wyoming native. He will always be a fan favorite.

 

How the panel voted: Cody Tucker (42), Robert Gagliardi (49), Jared Newland (39), Ryan Thorburn (NR), Kevin McKinney (NR)

 

Previous selection: No. 50

 

Cody Tucker: Brand Manger 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.

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