* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- Athlon Sports has named its 2023 Preseason All-America and All-Conference teams and 13 Wyoming Cowboys were recognized led by junior place-kicker John Hoyland, who was named to Athlon's Second Team All-America Team and First Team All-Mountain West Team.

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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 Team, joining UConn offensive lineman Christian Haynes and Old Dominion linebacker Jason Henderson on the Second Team.

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

Sophomore defensive end Braden Siders 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 on the four teams, including its entire front four in 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 honorees.

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

On special teams both place-kicker Hoyland and punter Stewart were recognized.

 

Athlon's Second Team All-America Selection From Wyoming 

John Hoyland made 22 of 25 field goals (88.0 percent) in 2022. In addition to leading the Mountain West and ranking No. 7 in the nation in field goals made at 1.69 per game. His 22 field goals set a new Wyoming single-season school record.  He broke the record of former Cowboys Cory Wedel, who made 20 field goals in 1996, and J.D. Wallum, who made 20 in 2001. Hoyland's field-goal percentage of 88.0 percent in 2022 was No. 2 in the MW and No. 18 nationally. He made four field goals of over 50 yards in the 2022 season -- 51, 53, 53 and 55. His 55-yarder was tied for the fifth longest in the FBS last season and was the longest in the Mountain West last year. Hoyland was named a Semifinalist for the 2022 Lou Groza Award. He was named a 2022 PFF (Pro Football Focus) Second Team Mid-Season All-American. Hoyland was selected as the MW Special Teams Player of the Week three times last season.

 

Athlon's First Team All-Mountain West Selections From Wyoming

John Hoyland (Place-kicker, See bio information in above All-America list.)

 

Jordan Bertagnole (Defensive Tackle) has started 21 of 30 career games at defensive tackle as a Cowboy entering his junior season. He recorded 51 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 11 games during the 2022 season. He was forced to miss the Boise State and Fresno State games late in the season due to injury, but returned for the Arizona Bowl. Bertagnole was also credited with four quarterback hurries and he forced two fumbles. A very disruptive force in the middle of the Cowboy defense, Bertagnole earned Second Team All-Conference honors from Phil Steele in 2022.

 

Frank Crum (Offensive Tackle) has started 36 of 43 career games at Wyoming. He will move to left tackle in 2023 after starting at right tackle the past four seasons. He has 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 earned All-Conference honors in 2022 from both Pro Football Focus (Third Team) and Phil Steele (Fourth Team).

 

Easton Gibbs (Middle Linebacker) not only ranked No. 3 in the conference and 22nd nationally in tackles last season, at 9.3 tackles per game, but he recorded the first 100-tackle season of his career, with 121. He became only the 61st Cowboy in the 126-year history of Cowboy Football to record 100 tackles in a single season. Gibbs' 121 tackles ties him for the 18th best single-season tackle total in school history with former UW linebackers Bruce Mowry (1983) and Jim Talich (1997). Gibbs posted double figures in tackles in six games during the 2022 season. Gibbs was named to the First Team All-Mountain West team in voting by MW head coaches and media, and was selected First Team All-MW by Phil Steele.

 

Cole Godbout (Nose Tackle) entered the 2022 season as a leading All-Conference candidate and the leader of the UW defensive line as he had earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors in 2021 from Mountain West head coaches and media. Godbout was outstanding in the first six games of the '22 campaign, recording 32 tackles, 11 quarterback hurries, 4.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup. He suffered a foot injury against San Jose State that forced him to miss the final six regular-season games, before returning for the Arizona Bowl where he started and recorded his 33rd tackle of the season. He is poised for a big year in his final season for 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 at running back in voting by MAC head coaches. He also was named to the Pro Football Focus (PFF) Third Team All-MAC squad, while leading NIU in rushing with 899 yards.

 

Athlon's Second Team All-Mountain West Selections From Wyoming 

DeVonne Harris led Wyoming in sacks (8.0) and was second in tackles for loss (13.0) as a sophomore. He ranked No. 8 in the Mountain West and No. 46 in the FBS in sacks, averaging 0.62 per game. In MW conference games only, Harris ranked No. 3 in tackles for loss (1.38 per game) and ranked No. 4 in sacks (0.88 per game). His season high in sacks was 3.0 versus Utah State, which tied for the fourth best single-game performance in the MW in 2022. For the season, he also had six quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and one fumble return, which he returned for 44 yards vs. Boise State. He was the sack leader of a Wyoming defensive unit that ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 21 in the nation in sacks, averaging 2.85 per game. Harris received All-Conference recognition from Phil Steele (Fourth Team) and Mountain West head coaches and media (Honorable Mention) as a sophomore.

 

Nofoafia Tulafono started all 13 games for the Cowboys at center as a sophomore in 2022. He made all 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 Second Team All-Mountain West Conference by Pro Football Focus (PFF) in 2022 and earned Fourth Team honors from Phil Steele.

 

Treyton Welch was the only Mountain West tight end to rank in the Top 10 in the MW in TD receptions last season, with five TDs. He tied for No. 4 in the Mountain West in TD receptions, with five total. 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 in the Arizona Bowl vs. Ohio, catching five passes for 91 yards and 1 TD. His TD receptions last season went for: 14 yards vs. Air Force, 17 yards vs. Ohio, 19 yards at BYU, 29 yards at New Mexico and 47 yards at New Mexico. Welch was named First Team All-Mountain West in 2022 by Pro Football Focus (PFF), Third Team by Phil Steele and Honorable Mention by Mountain West head coaches and media.

 

Athlon's Third Team All-Mountain West Selections From Wyoming

Braden Siders led Wyoming in tackles for loss (13.5) as a redshirt freshman in 2022 and was second in sacks (7.0). He totaled 44 tackles in his first season as a starter and started all 13 games for the Cowboys. He also recorded seven quarterback hurries and had one pass break-up. 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 on Wyoming's defense in tackles in 2022, with 67. He added seven pass breakups, one interception, four quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Ekeler ranked No. 32 in the Mountain West in tackles as a sophomore in '22, averaging 5.2 tackles per game. He started 10 of 13 games as a sophomore safety in 2022, including the last nine consecutive games of the season. 

 

Clayton Stewart ranked No. 3 in the Mountain West and No. 33 in the nation in punting, averaging 43.8 yards per punt in 2022. He placed 20 of 72 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line and forced 22 fair catches by opponents. Stewart recorded 19 punts of over 50 yards on the season, with his long punt going for 67 yards, which was the second longest in the MW last season. His best games were: 46.6 yard average at Colorado State (5 punts), 47.8 average vs. Tulsa (5 punts), 48.5 average vs. Northern Colorado (4 punts), 51.5 average vs. Air Force (4 punts) and 51.8 average against San Jose State (6 punts). Stewart was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West by MW head coaches and media in 2022.

 

Shae Suiaunoa ranked second on the Cowboy defense in tackles in 2022, with 73. He also had six quarterback hurries, 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and one interception. Suiaunoa ranked No. 23 in the Mountain West in tackles as a sophomore in '22, averaging 5.6 tackles per game. He started all 13 games at weak-side linebacker for Wyoming as a sophomore. He was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week for his performance versus Northern Colorado in 2022.

 

2023 Athlon Preseason All-America Honorees

Second Team

John Hoyland, Place-kicker, 5-10, 194, Jr., Broomfield, Colo.

 

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, Colo.

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, Calif.

Treyton Welch, 6-3, 241, Gr., Buffalo, Minn.

 

Third Team

Braden Siders, 6-3, 235, So., Thornton, Colo.

 

Fourth Team

Wyett Ekeler, Free Safety, 5-11, 197, Jr., Windsor, Colo.

Clayton Stewart, Punter, 6-1, 215, Gr., Flower Mound, Texas

Shae Suiaunoa, Linebacker, 6-3, 231, Jr., Houston, Texas

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