Wyoming Cowboys

FORT COLLINS, CO - SEPTEMBER 05:  Deionte Gaines #2 of the Colorado State Rams returns a punt against the Savannah State Tigers at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Colorado State defeated Savannah State 65-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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S. Illinois announces additions of four FBS transfers, including ones from Florida, K-State

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When Southern Illinois takes the field in 2016, their roster will have a decidedly FBS look to it.

In a press release Monday, the FCS football program announced that it has added four former FBS players to the team.  Those four are wide receiver Deionte Gaines (Colorado State), cornerback CJ Jennings (Wyoming), running back Jarvis Leverett, Jr. (Kansas State), and wide receiver Ryan Sousa (Florida).

All four of those players will be eligible to play in 2016. Jennings and Sousa will have three years of eligibility remaining; Gaines will have two; and Leverett one.

Originally a Florida State commit, Sousa was a three-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, rated by 247sports.com as the No. 67 receiver in the country and the No. 70 player at any position in the state of Florida. In addition to UF and FSU, Sousa also held offers from, among others, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, UCLA and Wisconsin.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Sousa played in two games in 2015. The fact that Sousa was a depth-chart afterthought after two springs in Gainesville likely played a sizable role in the player’s decision to transfer last month.

Despite being at K-State the past four years, Leverett played in just five games for the Wildcats.  He rushed for 67 yards on 20 carries, all of which came during the 2014 season.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Jennings played in 10 games. Exiting the spring, Jennings was one of the Cowboys’ starting corners before announcing his decision to transfer earlier this month.

Gaines started five of the 22 games in which he played the past two seasons prior to a mid-May decision to transfer from the Rams. He caught 22 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown, and added another 153 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

As a true freshman in 2014, the 5-8, 180-pound Gaines led the Mountain West and was 20th in the FBS with 672 kick return yards on 28 returns (24.0 average).

CB C.J. Jennings, a starter exiting spring, transfers from Wyoming

BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 24: Head coach Craig Bohl of the Wyoming Cowboys rallies his team at the start of the fourth quarter of the game against the Boise State Broncos on October 24, 2015 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 34-14. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)
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All of the sudden, and most certainly unexpectedly, Craig Bohl‘s starting secondary has taken a shot of attrition.

Not surprisingly, C.J. Jennings took to social media to make his pronouncement, revealing on Twitter that he will be transferring out of the Wyoming football program.  Not only that, but the cornerback revealed his next destination — Southern Illinois.

Because the Salukis play at the FCS level, Jennings, a sophomore, will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

A school spokesperson subsequently confirmed to Robert Gagliardi of the Laramie Boomerang that Jennings “is no longer part of the Wyoming football program.”

As a redshirt freshman last season, Jennings played in 10 games. Exiting the spring, Jennings was one of the Cowboys’ starting corners.

Wyoming basketball player gives up hoops to play football

BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 24: Head coach Craig Bohl of the Wyoming Cowboys rallies his team at the start of the fourth quarter of the game against the Boise State Broncos on October 24, 2015 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 34-14. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)
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At the expense of its basketball team, Wyoming’s football team has made an early-May addition to its roster.

Austin Conway, a Cowboys basketball player, expressed a desire to play football earlier this year and was given clearance by both head coaches involved, Craig Bohl on the football side, Allen Edwards on the basketball side, to participate in spring practice.  With the 15 spring sessions now in the books, Conway has made his decision and will give up basketball in order to concentrate on football.

Conway, a Colorado high school quarterback, will play wide receiver at the collegiate level as well as return kicks for the Cowboys.

“I had nice long talks with Coach Bohl and Coach Edwards at the end of spring football,” said Conway in quotes distributed by the school. “Both coaches were very supportive. The biggest thing was I just had to follow my heart. I felt really comfortable being back out on the football field this spring. It felt like I was at home back on the field.”

Conway, who took a redshirt for the Cowboys basketball team as a true freshman in the 2015-16 season, will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 and will have four years of eligibility remaining.  The press release stated that the player’s “scholarship will be shifted from the basketball team to the football team beginning in the summer of 2016.”

As for his football credentials, here is the pertinent 411 from the release:

Conway was an outstanding football and basketball player at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo. He was named to The Denver Post’s All-Colorado team for all classifications as a dual-threat quarterback his senior season of 2014. During his senior season, he passed for 1,341 yards and 13 touchdowns and added 509 rushing yards and five rushing TDs. His junior season, Conway accumulated 1,847 passing yards and 1,130 rushing yards for 2,977 yards of total offense. He had a combined 31 touchdowns, 19 through the air and 12 on the ground. 

“Austin showed us during spring football that he has a passion for the game of football and that he had the skills to benefit our team moving forward,” said Bohl. “We were aware of Austin’s football accomplishments in high school. The fact that he has only been away from the game for a year we believe will make his transition a smooth one. He certainly benefitted from going through spring practice with us and will benefit from having a full summer to work with our strength and conditioning staff. We are excited to have Austin as a part of our team.

“Coach Edwards and I have been working together through this process to try and help Austin decide what is best for him. I want to thank Allen (Edwards) for his willingness to help Austin find the path that he feels is best for his future.

Wyoming’s second-leading receiver ‘may have broken a bone in his ankle or his leg’

PULLMAN, WA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Jake Maulhardt  #83 of the Wyoming Cowboys is tackled by Parker Henry #29 of the Washington State Cougars in the second half at Martin Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Pullman, Washington.  Washington State defeated Wyoming 31-14.  (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
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It appears Wyoming’s top wide receiver will have an injury obstacle to overcome if he hopes to repeat his production from a year ago.

Following practice Tuesday, Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl acknowledged that “Jake Maulhardt may have broken a bone in his ankle or his leg” earlier in the day. The specific nature and extent of the injury, however, isn’t yet known.

I’m hopeful it isn’t that bad, but they’re going to put him through some x-rays,” Bohl said.

Last season, Maulhardt’s 57 receptions were 20 more than any other Cowboy, while his eight receiving touchdowns led the team as well. His 653 yards receiving were second among all Cowboy players.

Bohl also announced that senior defensive end Trevor Meader “is going to go in for some surgery on Wednesday and we’ll find out if there is an ACL tear there.”

Starting DE Uso Olive one of three leaving Wyoming for ‘personal reasons’

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A key piece of Wyoming’s defensive line the past couple of seasons is one of a trio of Cowboys who have parted ways with the football program.

On Instagram earlier this week, Uso Olive announced that he has received his “official release from the University of Wyoming.” The defensive end gave no indication as to the factors that triggered his decision.

Below is the text of Olive’s announcement:

As I walk on this campus today, I take in a deep breath of the fresh air in the state of Wyoming. However, I am in realization with the fact this will be my last breath taken in Wyoming. It is hard for me, but today I have announced my official release from the University of Wyoming. Just want to thank the football staff, my family and especially my brothers on the team for making this an experience I will cherish forever. Do not sleep on these boys, they are on the rise. As for me? God will be the judge and answer to that. Again, thank you for everything to the state of Wyoming for blessing me with such an opportunity.

Subsequent to that, Wyoming confirmed in a press release that Olive was leaving for what was described as “personal reasons.”

Olive started all 12 games this season for the Cowboys. In fact, he had a streak of 23 straight starts prior to his departure.

In addition to Olive, Wyoming announced in the same release that junior walk-on linebacker Will Tutein and freshman walk-on place-kicker Tristan Bailey would not be returning as well. As was the case with Olive, “personal reasons” were used to describe the moves.

Over the past two seasons, Tutein started six of the 23 games in which he played. Bailey was the Cowboys’ primary placekicker in 2015, but he connected on just two of his eight attempts. He did go 28-31 on extra point attempts.