LARAMIE -- Let me preface this entire piece below by stating a fact: I don't play video games.

So, while some are beyond ecstatic that EA Sports is back in the college football game and will be releasing its latest game at some point this summer, I will not be waiting in line at midnight to grab a copy.

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While I understand the excitement -- I did play some NCAA Gamebreaker on PlayStation in junior high -- that Name, Image and Likeness stuff you loathe so much, is almost directly tied to this virtual world. Ed O'Bannon, former UCLA basketball standout, thought players deserved a little coin in their pocket since their pixelated image was splattered all over screens across the world.

He wasn't wrong.

That's now a reality. And all 134 FBS programs are on board.

According to multiple reports, More than 11,000 college football players can now "opt in" and receive $600 plus a copy of the game, which costs roughly $70. That compensation will continue throughout their "amateur" careers -- even if they hit the transfer portal -- as long as they remain on a roster.

Of course, you can also "opt out," which some big-name stars will surely do. Can they negotiate their own price?

Those guys, basically, yes.

EA Sports is adding more than 100 additional NIL opportunities. That will include television advertisements, social-media posts and even come on-campus promotions.

Who could forget that infamous cover art? Think that kid is getting paid? You bet.

Now, I can't imagine the feeling of popping in a disk (that's how it's still done, right?) and playing a football game, featuring, well, yourself. That would be amazing. The enclosed annual check for $600 is just a sweet red cherry on top.

Good for these hard-working student-athletes and all the soon-to-be singles who won't put a controller down for five minutes.

All of this had me thinking -- if I could create my own Wyoming Cowboys football team, who would be in my starting lineup? The origins of this game date back to the summer of 1993. The game was pulled in 2013.

So, I'm going to start my completely subjective list starting in 1994.

Let's start today with the offense:

 

QUARTERBACKS

Josh Allen - 6'5", 233lbs. - Firebaugh, Calif. - 2015-17

While I am in the camp that Brett Smith is a better all-around college signal caller, I'm trying to think like a nerd -- err gamer -- here. Josh Allen would likely have the highest-rated arm strength and athleticism. That's how these games work, right? He would be a freak. That's why I'm taking the gunslinger, who threw for 5,066 yards and 44 touchdowns in essentially two collegiate seasons before becoming a first-round draft pick.

 

Brett Smith - 6'3", 205lbs. - Salem, Ore. - 2011-13

This was not as easy of a decision as one might think. Remember, Josh Wallwork and Casey Bramlet were record-breaking QB's at Wyoming, too. Either could've easily landed in this spot. However, I'm taking Brett Smith because of his wheels. The Oregon product rushed for 1,531 yards and 20 touchdowns during his three seasons in Laramie, not to mention the 8,834 passing yards and a school-record 76 scores through the air.

 

 

RUNNING BACKS

Brian Hill - 6'1", 219lbs. - Belleville, Ill. - 2014-16

No-brainer right here. Brian Hill is Wyoming's all-time leading rusher with 4,287 yards in just three seasons. I'll always throw this part in, too: He did most of that damage when defenses knew he was the Cowboys' only real legitimate threat on offense. It didn't matter.

 

Ryan Christopherson - 5'11", 237lbs. - Glendale, Ariz. - 1991-94

Technically, Ryan Christopherson played just one season when this video game began. I'm still taking him. During his senior season, this bulldozer out of the Cowboys' backfield rolled up 1,455 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also hauled in 105 yards worth of passes and another score. I could've gone with a number of guys here: Len Sexton, Nico Evans, Xazavian Valladay and Marques Brigham, among others. Heck, Harrison Waylee might one day be in serious consideration. Give me Ryno.

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

Jacob Hollister - 6'4", 239lbs. - Bend, Ore. - 2014-16

One of Josh Allen's favorite targets, Jacob Hollister snagged 75 career passes for 1,114 yards and 12 touchdowns during his three seasons on the high plains. In 2016, the only time Wyoming punched its ticket to the Mountain West title game, the senior caught 32 balls for 515 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has a Super Bowl ring from his time with the New England Patriots.

 

John Michael Gyllenborg - 6'5", 245lbs. - Leawood, Kan. - 2022-present

This one might be a bit of a shocker. Trust me, it feels odd for me, too. How can I select a tight end with 26 career catches and just 381 yards receiving to go along with three touchdowns? Potential. John Michael Gyllenborg has all the intangibles to be special. He's 6-foot-5, 245 pounds and runs like a deer. He also has limited mileage on his body, only appearing in a handful of games in high school. With Jay Johnson's new supposed balanced offensive attack, I think Gyllenborg could be one of the best ever.

 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Marcus Harris - 6'2", 213lbs. - Minneapolis, Minn. - 1993-96

This little-known wide out from Minnesota caught just one ball during his true freshman season and was tasked with stepping in for the game's -- not just the school's -- all-time leading receiver, Ryan Yarborough. No sweat. Marcus Harris snagged 259 career receptions for 4,518 yards and 38 touchdowns in a UW uniform. As a senior, he caught 109 of those throws for 1,650 yards and 13 touchdowns in Joe Tiller's basketball-on-grass attack. That landed him the Biletnikoff Trophy, which is awarded to the nation's best pass catcher. He also finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

 

Jovon Bouknight - 6'1", 195lbs. - Denver, Colo. - 2002-05

Man, did Wyoming used to be "Receiver U" or what? My No. 2 wideout is Jovon Bouknight. All he did in Laramie was haul in 250 passes for 3,626 yards and 29 touchdowns. He had the speed, swagger and stats. As a senior, the Colorado product caught 77 balls for 1,116 yards and a dozen scores. Remember, Bouknight also tossed four touchdown passes, including a 22-yard heave to quarterback JJ Raterink in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl upset over UCLA.

 

Tanner Gentry - 6'2", 210lbs. - Aurora, Colo. - 2013-16

This guys caught absolutely everything thrown in his general direction, especially some of those Josh Allen heaters. Tanner Gentry made his job look effortless. The stats followed. The Aurora, Colo., native finished his career with 2,815 receiving yards on 180 grabs. He also hauled in 20 touchdown passes. When you see an Allen highlight from college, No. 4 is most likely on the receiving end. Gentry was a special player. Malcom Floyd, Ryan McGuffey, Wendell Montgomery and Dominic Rufran, among others, were special, but when it comes to the college game, I'll take Gentry.

 

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

* Steve Scifres - 6'4", 300lbs. - Colorado Springs, Colo. - 1993-96

* Chase Roullier - 6'4", 312lbs. - Burnsville, Minn. - 2013-15

* Jeff Smith - 6'4", 286lbs. - Phoenix, Ariz. - 1996-98

* Adam Goldberg - 6'7", 318lbs. - Edina, Minn. - 1999-02

* Trenton Franz - 6'3", 300lbs. - Fort Collins, Colo. - 2000-04

* Chase Johnson - 6'4", 310lbs. - Loveland, Colo. - 2002-06

* Keegan Cryder - 6'4", 309 - Littleton, Colo. - 2017-21

* Nick Carlson - 6'4", 292 - Arlington Heights, Ill. - 2009-12

* Frank Crum - 6'7", 315lbs. - Laramie, Wyo. - 2018-23

 

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, 7220Sports.com counted down the Top 50 football players in University of 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 7220's Cody Tucker are 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 fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit: 7220Sports.com

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players