In this installment of the 2016 Cowboy football season review we’ll be looking at the running backs. The running back position for Wyoming was very productive this year led by Brian Hill, who finished in the top 10 in rushing yards in FBS. Hill has since declared for the NFL draft and will forego his senior season.
Brian Hill was one of the top rushers in the Mountain West this past season. His 1,860 yards was good enough for third in the country, two spots behind fellow Mountain West back Donnel Pumphrey. Hill was fourth in the country in rushing touchdowns with 22. Hill’s productivity will be missed next season, as the Cowboys got two solid years out of him. He’ll make his way to the NFL and look to continue his dominant rushing ability.
The combination of Brian Hill and Shaun Wick, plus the added rushing ability of Josh Allen made the Cowboys a threat whenever they had the football. The Wyoming rushing attack ranked 36th nationally with 205 yards per game. However, given the talent in the Mountain West at running the football the Cowboys ranked sixth in the conference. The ability to run the football kept many games alive for the Cowboys. The first football game of the season was won on a Josh Allen rush to the endzone as he dove across the goal line to beat Northern Illinois in triple overtime.
Hard to find many lows for the Cowboys in the rushing attack. With Brian Hill and Shaun Wick leaving there will be some question marks if their productivity can be replaced. Both have been valuable assets to the programs for a few seasons. Shaun Wick was a starter as a true freshman, but injuries put a damper on his outstanding career. Wick will finish in the top 10 in all-time Cowboy rushers.
As mentioned earlier the Cowboys will be without two of their three leading rushers next season with Hill and Wick. At the time of this writing it is unknown if Josh Allen will declare for the NFL draft. If Allen does leave the top three rushers will have departed from a team that rushed the ball very well consistently. The Cowboys will be returning Nico Evans, Garrett Gardner, Mike Green, Milo Hall, Paul Lomanto, and Kellen Overstreet. Overstreet sat out this season recovering from a torn knee ligament suffered before the season started. Between Overstreet, Evans, Hall and Green the Cowboys should be in good shape going forward. There is a lot of talent at the running back position, and at least two more backs coming in with this year’s recruiting class. Wyoming has already secured commitments for 2017 from Xazavian Valladay (Chicago, IL) and Trey Dorfner (Lacey, WA).