John Hoyland was named a preseason sophomore All-American by Athlon Sports

Laramie, Wyo. (May 26, 2023) — Athlon Sports has named its 2023 All-America and All-Conference teams for the 2023 preseason and 13 Wyoming Cowboys were recognized, led by junior field kicker John Hoyland, who was named to Athlon’s second-team All- America Team and First Team All Mountain West Team.

Hoyland was one of only three players from non-Power Five conference schools and the only Mountain West player to be named to the first or second teams. He joined UConn offensive lineman Christian Haynes and Old Dominion linebacker Jason Henderson on the second team.

There are five Wyoming Cowboys who have joined Hoyland in the All-Mountain West First Team. Those five include offensive player Frank Crum and junior running back Harrison Waylee, who joined Wyoming from northern Illinois in January. Junior defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole, junior middle linebacker Easton Gibbs, and graduate nose tackle Cole Godbout represent Cowboy defense on the first team.

Three Cowboys are on Athlon’s All-Mountain West second team, including junior defensive end DeVonne Harris, junior offensive center Nofoafia Tulafono and graduate tight end Treyton Welch.

Braden Siders, defensive end sophomore, is the only Wyoming Cowboy on the third team, while three Cowboys are on the fourth team. Those three are junior free safety Wyett Ekeler, graduate punter Clayton Stewart, and junior linebacker Shae Suiaunoa.

Wyoming has seven defensive players across the four teams, including all four front players Bertagnole (defensive tackle), Godbout (nose tackle), Harris (defensive end), and Siders (defensive end). Both linebackers – Gibbs and Suiaunoa – and free safety Ekeler round out the UW defensive honors winners.

Offensively, the pokes have four representatives in Crum (offensive tackle), Tulafono (center), Waylee (running back), and Welch (tight end).

In special teams, both Platzkicker Hoyland and punter Stewart were awarded.

Athlon’s second All-America team pick from Wyoming

John Hoyland scored 22 of 25 field goals (88.0 percent) in 2022. He also led the Mountain West and ranked 7th in the country with 1.69 field goals scored per game. His 22 field goals set a new school record for a single season in Wyoming. He broke the record of former Cowboys Cory Wedel, who hit 20 field goals in 1996, and JD Wallum, who hit 20 field goals in 2001. Hoyland’s field goal percentage of 88.0 percent in 2022 was No. 2 in MW and No. 18 nationally. During the 2022 season, he had four field goals for 50 yards — 51, 53, 53 and 55. His 55-yarder was the fifth-longest in FBS last season and was the longest in Mountain West last year. Hoyland was named a 2022 Lou Groza Award Semifinalist. He was named a 2022 PFF (Pro Football Focus) Second Team Mid-Season All-American. Hoyland was named MW Special Teams Player of the Week three times last season.

Athlon’s first team All Mountain West selection from Wyoming

John Hoyland (place-kicker, see biography in All-America list above.)

Jordan Bertagnole (defensive tackle) started 21 of 30 career defensive tackle games as a Cowboy early in his junior season. In 11 games during the 2022 season, he had 51 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles from loss. An injury saw him miss Boise State and Fresno State games late in the season, but he returned for the Arizona Bowl. Bertagnole was also credited with four quarterback hurries and forced two fumbles. A highly disruptive force in the middle of Cowboys’ defense, Bertagnole earned Phil Steele’s 2022 Second Team All-Conference honors.

Frank Crum (offensive tackle) has started 36 of 43 career games in Wyoming. He will switch to left tackle in 2023 after starting as right tackle for the past four seasons. He helped pave the way for three 1,000-yard rushing seasons by Cowboy running backs — Xazavian Valladay (2019 and 2021) and Titus Swen (2022). Crum received 2022 All-Conference honors from both Pro Football Focus (Third Team) and Phil Steele (Fourth Team).

Easton Gibbs (middle linebacker) not only ranked third in the conference and 22nd nationally in tackles at 9.3 tackles per game last season, but also recorded the first 100-tackle season of his career with 121. He became just the 61st cowboy in cowboy football’s 126-year history to record 100 tackles in a single season. With 121 tackles, Gibbs tied with former UW linebackers Bruce Mowry (1983) and Jim Talich (1997) for the 18th-best overall tackles in a season in school history. Gibbs had double-digit tackles in six games during the 2022 season. Gibbs was named to the First Team All-Mountain West team in a vote by MW head coaches and the media and was voted First Team All-MW by Phil Steele.

Cole Godbout (Nose Tackle) entered the 2022 season as the leading All-Conference nominee and leader of the UW line of defense, having received an Honorable Mention All-Mountain West award from Mountain West head coaches and media in 2021. Godbout was outstanding in the first six games of the 2022 season, recording 32 tackles, 11 quarterback hurries, 4.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakdown. He suffered a foot injury against San Jose State that forced him to miss the last six games of the regular season before returning to the Arizona Bowl, where he started and recorded his 33rd tackle of the season. He has a big year ahead of him in his final season with the Cowboys.

Harrison Waylee (running back) joins the Wyoming football program as a proven FBS running back, transferring to UW from Northern Illinois University. As a sophomore in 2022, Waylee earned Third Team All-Mid-American Conference (MAC) honors by running behind in the MAC head coaches’ vote. He was also named to the Pro Football Focus (PFF) All-MAC 3rd roster and led NIU in rushing yards with 899 yards.

Athlon’s second team All-Mountain West Selections from Wyoming

DeVonne Harris led Wyoming in sacks (8.0) and finished second in tackles for loss (13.0) as a sophomore. In sacks, he averaged .62 per game 8th on the Mountain West and 46th on the FBS. In MW conference games only, Harris ranked #3 in tackles for loss (1.38 per game) and #4 in sacks (0.88 per game). His season-high sacks was 3.0 against Utah State, which made him the fourth-best single-game performance in MD in 2022. He also had six quarterback hurries, a pass breakup, and a fumble return during the season, returning for 44 yards against Boise State. He was the sack leader for a Wyoming defense unit that ranked second in Mountain West and 21st in the country in sacks averaging 2.85 per game. As a sophomore, Harris received all conference recognition from Phil Steele (Fourth Team) and the Mountain West head coaches and media (Honourable Mention).

Nofoafia Tulafono started all 13 games for the Cowboys at Center as a sophomore in 2022. He made all of the offensive line calls for the Cowboys, and in his first year as a starter, Tulafono helped block for 1,000-yard rusher Titus Swen. Tulafono was named a second-team All-Mountain West Conference in 2022 by Pro Football Focus (PFF) and received fourth-team honors from Phil Steele.

Treyton Welch was the only Mountain West tight end to finish in the MW top 10 in touchdown receptions with five touchdowns last season. He finished fourth at the Mountain West with five total touchdown receptions. Welch received an “A” grade from PFF (Pro Football Focus) for the 2022 season. He caught 22 passes for 308 yards, averaging 14.0 yards per reception. His best game of the season was against Ohio at the Arizona Bowl, where he caught five passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. His TD receptions last season included: 14 yards against Air Force, 17 yards against Ohio, 19 yards at BYU, 29 yards at New Mexico, and 47 yards at New Mexico. Welch was named First Team All-Mountain West by Pro Football Focus (PFF), Third Team by Phil Steele, and an Honorable Mention by Mountain West head coaches and media in 2022.

Athlon’s third team All-Mountain West Selections from Wyoming

Braden Siders led Wyoming as a redshirt freshman in 2022 in tackles by loss (13.5) and finished second in sacks (7.0). In his first season as a starter, he totaled 44 tackles and started all 13 games for the Cowboys. He also recorded seven quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. Siders was named an Honorable Mention Freshman All-American by College Football News in 2022.

Athlon’s fourth team All-Mountain West Selections from Wyoming

Wyett Ekeler ranked third in Wyoming’s defense in 2022 with 67 tackles. He added seven pass breakups, one interception, four quarterback rushes, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. As a sophomore in 2022, Ekeler ranked 32nd at the Mountain West in tackles, averaging 5.2 tackles per game.
He started 10 of 13 games as a sophomore safety in 2022, including the last nine straight games of the season.

Clayton Stewart ranked third in the Mountain West and 33rd in the nation in punting with an average of 43.8 yards per punt in 2022. He placed 20 of 72 punts within the opponent’s 20 yard line and forced 22 fair opponent catches. Stewart recorded 19 punts for 50 yards this season, with his long punt going for 67 yards, which was the second-longest in MW last season. His best games were: 46.6 yards average against Colorado State (5 punts), 47.8 yards average against Tulsa (5 punts), 48.5 average against Northern Colorado (4 punts), 51.5 average against Air Force ( 4 punts) and 51.8 average against San Jose State (6 punts). Stewart received an Honorable Mention All-Mountain West award in 2022 from MW head coaches and the media.

Shae Suiaunoa ranked second in Cowboys defense in 2022 with 73 tackles. He also had six quarterback hurries, 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and one interception. As a sophomore in 2022, Suiaunoa ranked 23rd at the Mountain West in tackles, averaging 5.6 tackles per game. As a sophomore, he started all 13 games as a weak linebacker for Wyoming. He was named MW Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Northern Colorado in 2022.

2023 Athlon Preseason All-America honoree

second team
John Hoyland, Place-Kicker, 5-10, 194, Jr., Broomfield, Colorado.

2023 Athlon Preseason All-Mountain West Conference honorees

First team
Jordan Bertagnole, 6-4, 287, Jr., Casper, Wyo.
Frank Crum, offensive tackle, 6-7, 315, Gr., Laramie, Wyo.
Easton Gibbs, linebacker, 6-2, 235, Jr., Temecula, Calif.
Cole Godbout, nose tackle, 6-4, 290, Gr., Hudson, Wis.
John Hoyland, Place-Kicker, 5-10, 194, Jr., Broomfield, Colorado.
Harrison Waylee, running back, 5-10, 198, Jr., Johnston, Iowa

second team
DeVonne Harris, 6-4, 240, Jr., Big Lake, Minn.
Nofoafia Tulafono, 6-2, 323, Jr., Victorville, California.
Treyton Welch, 6-3, 241, Gr., Buffalo, Minn.

third team
Braden Siders, 6-3, 235, Sun., Thornton, Colorado.

fourth team
Wyett Ekeler, Free Safety, 5-11, 197, Jr., Windsor, Colorado.
Clayton Stewart, Punter, 6-1, 215, Gr., Flower Mound, Texas
Shae Suiaunoa, linebacker, 6-3, 231, Jr., Houston, TX


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