LARAMIE -- During this summer series we are going to countdown the Top 50 football players in Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

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This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining me is Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn and Kevin McKinney. We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is more fair.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter page @7220sports.

 

Tashaun Gipson

Defensive back, 2008-11, Dallas, Texas

 

Here's why: You might recognize this guy more for the NFL career he is currently having.

Tashaun Gipson will enter his 10th season in the league this fall. He has 25 career interceptions. He has been to the Pro Bowl. He's played for four different teams, including Chicago, which has been his permanent address for just one season.

But, remember, when it comes to this list -- all of that above doesn't matter one bit.

During his four-year stay in Laramie, however, Gipson picked off nine passes, three each over his last three seasons. Standing 6-foot-1, the Texan would drape himself all over wide receivers when he played cornerback. He moved to safety early in his senior campaign. There, he laid the lumber on any pass catcher willing to come in his general direction.

Some defensive backs avoid contact.

Not Gipson.

He racked up 250 tackles, including 179 solo stops in a Wyoming uniform. He tallied a career-best 95 tackles during his senior season. Another thing that made Gipson special is his durability. He didn't miss games in college. In fact, he played in all 50 games he suited up for.

That included the 2009 New Mexico Bowl that ended with a 35-28 Wyoming victory over Fresno State in overtime.

Gipson's final collegiate game also took place in Albuquerque. The Cowboys were back in the New Mexico Bowl for the second time in three seasons under then-head coach Dave Christensen. That time, however, Temple prevailed, 37-15.

Gipson was recruited to play at Baylor, Louisville, Fresno State and others. It was the fact his older brother, Marcell Gipson, was already in Laramie that sealed the deal.

In 2010, Tashaun Gipson earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors. He landed on the second team the following season.

Gipson's nine career interceptions ranks him sixth all-time with names like Julius Stinson, Steve McMillon, Marcus Epps and others. Fifty times in UW history a player has picked off two passes in a single game. Gipson did that against UNLV as a sophomore.

 

Gagliardi's take: Tashaun Gipson signed to play cornerback at Wyoming for coach Joe Glenn. At the time, the 6-foot-1 Gipson was one of the bigger corners in terms of height at UW in recent memory. But it was a move five games into Gipson's senior season that solidified his place in the Top 50.

Gipson started at safety at Utah State in 2011, and played the rest of the season there. That Utah State game was one of UW's worst in 2011 -- a 63-19 beatdown. However, Gipson recorded a team-high seven solo tackles and 11 total tackles. He went on to earn second team All-Mountain West honors as a safety, and was an honorable mention all-conference pick as a cornerback in 2010. All-conference honors at two positions in consecutive years is impressive.
Gipson's nine-career interceptions still ranks tied for fifth in school history. His final interception came in his final regular-season game at Border War rival Colorado State. His pick in the second quarter ended a Rams scoring drive and helped the Cowboys go on to a 22-19 victory.
Gipson displayed arguably the best traits a defensive back can have -- confidence and short-term memory. He was always up to a challenge, and often wasn't afraid to let you know about it.

 

How the panel voted: Cody Tucker (46), Robert Gagliardi (34), Jared Newland (43), Ryan Thorburn (NR), Kevin McKinney (NR)

 

Previous selections: No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47

 

Cody Tucker: Brand Manger and creator of 7220sports.com. Tucker has covered the Cowboys since June of 2019, but was a season-ticket holder for nearly three decades. Tucker has also covered Michigan State University Athletics for the Lansing State Journal and Detroit Free Press and the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins during his 10-year journalism career

Robert Gagliardi: Former sports editor and University of Wyoming beat reporter for WyoSports. Gagliardi covered the Cowboys from more than a quarter century. He also covered the team at the Branding Iron, the UW student newspaper. Gagliardi also co-authored the book: The Border War: The Bronze Boot Rivalry Between Colorado State and Wyoming

Jared Newland: Currently the local sales manager for Townsquare Media SE Wyoming, Newland worked with and around Wyoming athletics for 20 years, starting as a student athletic trainer in 1990. Newland has also served in the Sports Information Office, the Cowboy Joe Club, Wyoming Sports Properties and was a UW Athletics Hall of Fame Committee Member from 2002-14.

Ryan Thorburn: Currently covering the Oregon Ducks for The Register-Guard, Thorburn also covered the Cowboys in the early and mid-90's for the Branding Iron and Casper Star Tribune. He has also written four books about Wyoming Athletics: The Border War: The Bronze Boot Rivalry Between Colorado State and Wyoming, Cowboy Up: Kenny Sailors, The Jump Shot and Wyoming’s Championship Basketball History, Lost Cowboys: The Story of Bud Daniel and Wyoming Baseball and Black 14: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Wyoming Football

Kevin McKinney: Currently the senior associate athletics director for external affairs at the University of Wyoming, McKinney also serves as the radio color commentator for Wyoming football and men's basketball. McKinney has been involved with UW Athletics in some capacity since 1972. He was also inducted into the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015.

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