LARAMIE– For the first time in University of Wyoming school history three Wyoming Cowboys were named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List on Tuesday when the Football Writers Association of America (FWWA) released its 2018 list.
The three Cowboys are senior strong safety Andrew Wingard, senior defensive end Carl Granderson and junior defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan. It marked the second straight year that Wingard made the list. It was the first time Granderson and Ghaifan were selected.
Wingard Ranked No. 1 in the MW in Interceptions
A total of 97 defensive players from 61 schools, including three returning players from last year’s FWAA All-America team are on the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Award Watch List.
Wingard tied for No. 1 in the Mountain West and ranked 15th nationally in interceptions last season, intercepting five passes on the season. He also ranked No. 7 in the conference and No. 37 in the nation in total tackles (averaging 8.8 tackles per game), and led all MW defensive backs in that category.
Granderson Ranked No. 2 in the MW in Sacks
Granderson also enjoyed an outstanding 2018 season at defensive end, ranking No. 2 in the league and No. 16 in the nation in sacks (0.73 per game and a total of 9.5 sacks on the season).
He ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West in tackles for loss (1.23 per game and 16.0 total). Granderson led all MW defensive linemen in tackles in 2017, averaging 5.9 per game.
Ghaifan Ranked No. 1 in the MW in Tackles for Loss
Ghaifan ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 23 nationally in tackles for loss (1.29 per game/15.5 total) in 2017 as a sophomore. He also ranked No. 4 in the league in sacks (0.73 per game/7.0 total) and No. 43 in the nation.
Ghaifan was second in among all MW defensive linemen in tackles (5.9 tackles per game) in 2017, trailing only Granderson.
Cowboys Defense in the Rankings
The three were all 2017 First Team All-Mountain West Conference selections and helped lead Wyoming’s defense to the No. 1 ranking in the nation in forcing turnovers in 2017, with a total of 38 takeaways.
The Cowboy defense also ranked No. 1 in the conference and No. 9 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 17.5 points per game to opponents.