by staff–16 Dec ’20
The Mountain West Conference released its 2020 All-Conference Football Team on Tuesday and seven Wyoming Cowboys were honored. Three Cowboys earned First Team honors. Those three were junior running back Xazavian Valladay, junior center Keegan Cryder and junior linebacker Chad Muma.
True freshman place-kicker John Hoyland was selected to the Second Team. Hoyland was the only freshman in the conference named to either the First or Second Team.
Three other Cowboys earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors. Those three were senior safety Esaias Gandy, senior offensive guard Logan Harris and redshirt freshman wide receiver Isaiah Neyor.
Valladay earned All-Conference honors for the second consecutive season. He also led the Mountain West in rushing for the second straight year. Cryder was a Second Team selection as a sophomore in 2019, before being named to the First Team this year. For Muma, it was the first All-Conference honor of his career.
Harris earned Honorable Mention honors for the second consecutive season. Gandy and Neyor each earned their first Honorable Mention recognition.
The All-Conference Team was selected in a vote of the Mountain West head football coaches and media members from across the Mountain West.
Wyoming First Team Selections (Listed Alphabetically)
Keegan Cryder, Junior Center, Littleton, Colo.
Keegan Cryder was named to the 2020 Rimington Trophy Watch List and the 2020 Outland Trophy Watch List. He was voted to the 2020 Preseason All-Mountain West Conference First Team by conference media members. Cryder was a 2019 Second Team All-Mountain West selection in voting by conference head coaches and media members. He is the leader of a Wyoming offensive line that has the Cowboys ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 17 in the nation in rushing offense in 2020, averaging 219.5 rushing yards per game.
The center is part of a Cowboy offense that rushed for over 280 yards in three of six games this season (281 vs. Hawai’i, 399 at UNLV and 283 at New Mexico). He has helped fuel a Wyoming offense that has totaled over 360 yards in total offense in five of six games this season (361 at Nevada, 393 vs. Hawai’i, 465 at Colorado State, 498 at UNLV and 374 at New Mexico).
He helped pave the way for Cowboy running back Xazavian Valladay to lead the MW in rushing in 2020, averaging 110.0 yards per game. Behind Cryder and his offensive line unit, Wyoming has had two running backs record a combined four 100-yard rushing games in six games this season. (Xazavian Valladay: 163 rushing yards vs. Hawai’i and 147 rushing yards at Colorado State. Trey Smith: 165 rushing yards at UNLV and 154 rushing yards at New Mexico.)
The junior center was also voted a team captain by his teammates in 2020.
Chad Muma, Junior, Linebacker, Lone Tree, Colo.
Chad Muma ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 6 in the nation in tackles this season, averaging 11.8 tackles per game. Muma also ranks No. 8 in the MW and No. 41 in the nation in tackles for loss, averaging 1.3 TFLs per game, with 8.0 total tackles for loss on the season. He is averaging 5.5 solo tackles per game to rank No. 4 in the Mountain West and No. 20 in the country. The junior leads Wyoming in tackles (72), tackles for loss (8.0), sacks (3.0) and solo tackles (39).
Other statistical categories he ranks among Mountain West leaders this season are: No. 8 in fumbles recovered (1) and No. 14 in sacks (0.50 per game / 3.0 total sacks).
Muma recorded five double-figure tackles games in the six games he played this season, including: a career best 17 at Colorado State, 14 at Nevada, 13 vs. Boise State, 10 at UNLV and 10 at New Mexico. At Nevada, Muma had 14 tackles, including 10 solo tackles, 1.0 TFL and 1 forced fumble. Versus Hawai’i, he was credited with 7 tackles, 1 fumble recovery and 1 pass breakup. At Colorado State, he recorded a career high 17 tackles, including 1.5 TFLs. At UNLV, Muma had career highs of 3.5 TFLs for 26 yards and 3.0 sacks for 25 yards to go with 10 total tackles. Against New Mexico, the junior made 10 tackles, including 2.0 TFLs, and he concluded the season with 13 tackles vs. Boise State
He was voted a team captain by his teammates for the 2020 season.
Xazavian Valladay, Junior, Running Back, Matteson, Ill.
Xazavian Valladay ranks No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 16 in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 110.0 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry on the season. Valladay also ranks No. 3 in the Mountain West and No. 27 in the nation in all-purpose yards per game, averaging 131.00 yards. His single-game rushing totals for 2020 include: 163 rushing yards vs. Hawai’i; 147 at Colorado State; 94 at UNLV and 87 at Nevada.
Valladay’s single-game all-purpose yardage totals for 2020 include: 195 vs. Hawai’i; 147 at Colorado State; 131 at Nevada, 94 at UNLV and 88 vs. Boise State. His season totals for the five games he played this season include: 99 carries for 550 rushing yards, 13 pass receptions for 105 receiving yards and 112 total plays for 655 yards of all-purpose yardage.
Valladay has accounted for 21 explosive plays of 10 or more yards in five games in 2020, including: 17 runs of 10 or more yards for 336 total yards and 4 pass receptions of 10 or more yards for 81 yards. Against Nevada, Valladay had four rushing plays of 10 or more yards for 47 yards and had two pass receptions of 10 or more yards for 26 yards. He ended the day with 87 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards and 131 all-purpose yards. Versus Hawai’i, he had six rushing plays of 10 or more yards for 85 yards and had one pass reception of 10 or more yards for 26 yards. On the day, he rushed for 163 yards, had 32 receiving yards and 195 all-purpose yards. At Colorado State, Valladay had three runs of 10 or more yards for 85 yards. He concluded the day with 147 rushing yards and 147 all-purpose yards. At UNLV, the junior recorded a 78-yard TD run and despite being injured in the first quarter and missing the remainder of the game still accounted for 94 rushing yards and 94 all-purpose yards. His injury against UNLV forced him to miss the entire New Mexico game on Dec. 5. Valladay came back from injury in the season finale against Boise State to have three rushing plays of 10 yards or more and one pass play of 29 yards and ended the day with 59 rushing yards and 88 all-purpose yards.
Wyoming Second Team Selections
John Hoyland, Freshman, Place-kicker, Broomfield, Colo.
John Hoyland ended the 2020 season ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goals made per game, averaging 2.17 field goals per game. Hoyland missed only one kick all season and is ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 6 in the nation in field-goal percentage (92.9 percent). He made 13 of 14 field goal attempts his true freshman season.
The true freshman also ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 18 in the nation in scoring among all players in the FBS at all positions, averaging 9.2 points per game. He ranks No. 5 in the Mountain West among all players at all positions in points responsible for, averaging 9.2 points per game. Hoyland led Wyoming in scoring, with 55 points. In addition to making 13 of 14 field goals on the season, he was a perfect 16 of 16 in PATs.
He was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week in the season opener at Nevada as he was a perfect 4 for 4 in field goals and 2 of 2 in PATs. He made a 42-yard field goal to send the game to overtime and hit a 38-yarder to give Wyoming the lead, 34-31, in overtime before the Pokes lost, 34-37. Hoyland was also a perfect 3 for 3 in field goals at New Mexico and was a perfect 3 of 3 in field goals vs. Boise State. He made at least one field goal in all six games in 2020.
Wyoming Honorable Mention Selections
Esaias Gandy, Senior, Safety, Aurora, Colo.
Esaias Gandy had an outstanding season ranking No. 11 in the Mountain West among all players at all position in tackles, averaging 7.3 tackles per game. Gandy ranked No. 2 for Wyoming in total tackles (45), solo tackles (23) and ranked No. 3 on the team in tackles for loss (4.5).
Gandy had a career day at New Mexico, leading the Cowboys with a career high 14 tackles vs. the Lobos, including 1.0 tackle for loss. On the season, Gandy had two double-figure tackle games — 14 at New Mexico and 10 at Colorado State.
He is a leader of a Wyoming defense that ranked No. 3 in the Mountain West and No. 19 in the nation in total defense, allowing opponents only 328.0 yards per game. Gandy has also led a defense that ranked No. 4 in the MW and No. 25 nationally in scoring defense, allowing opponents only 21.0 points per game.
In four of six games this season, Wyoming’s defense has held opponents to 17 points or less (7 total points allowed to Hawai’i, 14 points allowed to UNLV, 17 points allowed to New Mexico and 17 points allowed to Boise State).
Logan Harris, Senior, Offensive Guard, Torrington, Wyo.
Logan Harris has now earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors for the past two years in voting by conference head coaches and media members.
He is a leader of a Wyoming offensive line that has the Cowboys ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 17 in the nation in rushing offense in 2020, averaging 219.5 rushing yards per game. The offensive guard is part of a Cowboy offense that rushed for over 280 yards in three of six games this season (281 vs. Hawai’i, 399 at UNLV and 283 at New Mexico). He helped fuel a Wyoming offense that totaled over 360 yards in total offense in five of six games this season (361 at Nevada, 393 vs. Hawai’i, 465 at Colorado State, 498 at UNLV and 374 at New Mexico).
Harris helped pave the way for Cowboy running back Xazavian Valladay to lead the MW in rushing in 2020, averaging 110.0 yards per game. Behind Harris and his offensive line unit, Wyoming had two running backs record a combined four 100-yard rushing games in six games this season. Valladay rushed for 163 yards vs. Hawai’i and 147 yards at Colorado State. Trey Smith rushed for 165 yards at UNLV and 154 yards at New Mexico.
Isaiah Neyor, Redshirt Freshman, Wide Receiver, Fort Worth, Texas
Isaiah Neyor was one of the most explosive receivers in the Mountain West Conference his redshirt freshman season, averaging 31.0 yards per catch. Neyor needed four more receptions on the season to qualify for NCAA rankings. If he had qualified for the national rankings, his 31.0-yard average per catch would have led the nation.
He had his first 100-yard receiving game in the season opener at Nevada, catching 3 passes for 102 yards. Neyor also had three receptions for 77 yards at Colorado State.
Neyor caught 7 passes of 15 yards or more in 2020. He had catches of 45, 34 and 23 yards at Nevada; catches of 37 and 33 yards at Colorado State; one reception of 54 yards at New Mexico; and one catch for 15 yards at UNLV.
Neyor ranked No. 2 on the Wyoming roster in receiving yards in 2020 with 248. He also ranked No. 2 for the Cowboys in receiving yards per game this season, averaging 41.3 receiving yards per game.