Last updated April 29, 2018.

Through various sources, I’ve put together this list of former Wyoming high school players who played at least one down of a regular-season game in the NFL. The college they attended is in parentheses. Check out this list; hopefully I accounted for everyone, but if I missed someone, let me know by leaving a comment below….

Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East and Greybull lead the way with three pro players apiece.

Anyway, here they are:

Nick Bebout, Shoshoni (Wyoming): After three years in Atlanta, the offensive tackle started 54 games in four seasons for the expansion Seattle Seahawks before winding up his career with Minnesota in 1980.
Don Bracken, Thermopolis (Michigan): In an eight-season, 99-game career in the NFL with Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams from 1985-93, Bracken punted 461 times, averaging 39.9 yards per punt.
John Burrough, Pinedale (Wyoming): Burrough played 89 games with three teams, notching 4.5 sacks in his time with Atlanta, Minnesota and St. Louis from 1995-2002.
John Chick, Gillette (Utah State): In 19 games with Jacksonville in 2011 and 2012, Chick had 10 total tackles and 2.5 sacks from his defensive end spot; he also played eight seasons in the CFL.
Jim Crawford, Greybull (Wyoming): Crawford, who led the NCAA in rushing yards in 1956, had a combined 1,574 rushing and receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his five-year career with the Boston Patriots from 1960-64.
Win Croft, Lovell (Utah): The guard played 20 games in the NFL, 11 with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935 and nine with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1936.
Boyd Dowler, Cheyenne Central (Colorado): A two-time Pro Bowl selection at wide receiver, Dowler caught 474 passes for 7,270 yards and 40 touchdowns in 11 seasons with Green Bay and one with Washington from 1959-71. The owner of two Super Bowl rings, Dowler was also the Packers’ punter for three seasons.
Troy Dumas, Cheyenne East (Nebraska): Dumas played in 15 games over two seasons with Kansas City and St. Louis, registering one career sack as a linebacker.
Jim Eliopulos, Cheyenne Central (Wyoming): Eliopulos played three seasons for the New York Jets and St. Louis Cardinals as a linebacker, finishing with one fumble recovery in 31 games.
Aaron Elling, Lander (Wyoming): A kicker, Elling made 19 of 27 field goals and all 50 of his extra points in three seasons with Minnesota, Tennessee and Baltimore from 2003-05. He also had seven punts at 43.4 yards per punt.
Dennis Havig, Powell (Colorado): Havig, an offensive guard, played in 79 games with Atlanta, Houston and Green Bay from 1972-77, starting 13 games at right guard with the Falcons in 1975. He was part of the NFL All-Rookie team in 1972.
Jerry Hill, Lingle (Wyoming): In nine seasons with the Baltimore Colts, Hill scored 25 touchdowns and pilled up 2,668 rushing yards and 970 receiving yards. A Super Bowl champion in his final season, 1970, Hill is one of only two NFL players to have played six-man football in high school.
Jesse Johnson, Cheyenne East (Colorado): Johnson played 45 games in parts of four seasons with the New York Jets from 1980-83, registering one fumble recovery from his defensive back position.
Brett Keisel, Greybull (BYU): In 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including eight as starting defensive end, Keisel tallied 30 sacks and nine fumble recoveries. The two-time Super Bowl champion has a combined 408 tackles in his career. He retired after the 2014 season.
Lee Kizzire, Greybull (Wyoming): A fullback, Kizzire played in seven games for Detroit in 1937, carrying seven times for 20 yards.
Dewey McConnell, Laramie (Wyoming): McConnell played in nine games for Pittsburgh in 1954, snagging three interceptions on defense and one pass on offense.
Walt McDonald, Worland (Utah): In his one year in the NFL, McDonald, a center, played 11 games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935.
Mike McLeod, Cheyenne East (Montana State): McLeod played 20 games at safety for Green Bay in 1984 and 1985, notching an interception and a fumble recovery.
Tim Moynihan, Rawlins (Notre Dame)
: An all-pro center as a rookie with the Chicago Cardinals in 1932, Moynihan — who also played high school ball in Chicago — played only one more season before leaving the NFL.
Clint Oldenburg, Gillette (Colorado State)
: An offensive lineman, Oldenburg played in two games for the New York Jets in 2007.
Brady Poppinga, Evanston (BYU): In Green Bay, Poppinga played for seven years (2005-10) and started for three years in the Packers’ linebacking corps. He also played for St. Louis in 2011 and Dallas in 2012, finishing his career with 307 total tackles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Chris Prosinski, Buffalo (Wyoming): Through 2017, Prosinski, a safety, had played for Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Chicago over a seven-year career. In that time, he racked up 149 tackles, one interception and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Paul Sanders, Basin (Utah State): Sanders played in seven games for the Boston Yanks in 1944, rushing six times for four yards while catching four passes for five yards.
Willis aka “Wee Willie” Smith, Sheridan (Idaho): Smith, who also attended high school in Lexington, Neb., and Boise, Idaho, played in nine games for the New York Giants in 1934, rushing 80 times for 323 yards and two touchdowns.
J.J. Syvrud, Rock Springs (Jamestown, N.D.): Svyrud, a linebacker, played in one game for the New York Jets in 1999.
John Wendling, Rock Springs (Wyoming): In three seasons playing safety with Buffalo from 2007-09 and four seasons with Detroit from 2010-13, Wendling notched 147 tackles and also snagged one interception.
Don Westbrook, Cheyenne Central (Nebraska): In five seasons with New England (1977-81), Westbrook caught 23 passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns and also averaged 15.3 yards per kick return.
Willie Wright, Riverton (Wyoming): Wright played in nine games for the Phoenix Cardinals in 1992.

–patrick

25 Thoughts on “Former Wyoming high school football players who played in the NFL

  1. Steve Core on July 7, 2010 at 8:46 am said:

    Patrick, did kelly poppinga and casey poppinga, both from evanston, ever play in the nfl—-kelly was with miami, arizona and st. louis, while casey was with seattle—not sure if they ever played a down or not, but at one point were on the roster. Steve

  2. Patrick on July 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm said:

    Hi Steve,

    From what I can gather, Brady is the only Poppinga brother to play in the NFL. The others suited but, again, from what I can gather, didn’t play. Wheatland’s Casey Bramlet falls into this list, too, I believe, of on the roster but never played (Redskins), and possibly Central’s Dave Edeen from the late 1980s (Broncos).

    By the way, most of my research on the players listed (and not listed) came from two Web sites, pro-football-reference.com and databasefootball.com. I warn you now, they are fantastic time wasters…

    –patrick

  3. Burke Binning on July 8, 2010 at 8:39 am said:

    Patrick,

    Been awhile, but I have been keeping up with your progress. Great site.

    There is at least one player you are missing–Troy Dumas. He is a former Cheyenne East stud who graduated in 1991. Great all-around athlete. Two time state TJ champ, excellent basketball player, and strangely never made the all-state team in Wyoming. From what I remember, he was primarily a DB and returner. He went to play at Nebraska, and bulked up a lot and became a linebacker by his senior year. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 95 NFL draft by the Chiefs and played a few years. He now coaches at Southeast Missouri State University (link below to his bio).

    http://gosoutheast.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/dumas_troy00.html

  4. Patrick on July 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm said:

    Thanks for the catch, Burke. Completely spaced Mr. Dumas, although it wasn’t anything personal… Glad you caught that omission!

    Thanks, also, for the kind words. Much appreciated.

    Also worth throwing out that Gillette’s John Chick was recently signed by Indianapolis after a standout 2009 season in the CFL. He will probably join this list soon.

    –patrick

  5. Patrick on July 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm said:

    While I’m thinking about it, I want to throw a couple names into the air and see if they ring a bell for anyone. These are guys who were born in Wyoming and played in the NFL, but I’ve had no luck tracking down where they went to high school….

    The first is a guy named Walt McDonald, who was born in Worland in 1911, went to college at Utah and played one season (1935) in the NFL.

    The second is a guy named Paul Sanders. He was born in Otto in 1918, played his college ball at Utah State and played during the 1944 NFL season.

    I tried contacting folks at Utah and Utah State directly, but they didn’t have any high school info for these guys.

    If these names don’t ring a bell, ask your grandpa…. see if he knows…. or your great-grandpa… these are definitely old school players!

    –patrick

  6. Steve Core on July 12, 2010 at 8:37 am said:

    Two other notes—-Adam Archuletta was born in Rock springs and lived in Green River thru like 6th grade—Moved to Arizona, but his dad I think still lives in Green River. Also, Brock Marion was born in Rock Springs, but moved away at a young age. Jeremy Stevens also lived in Green River thru like little league age—Not sure if he was born in Wyoming–His dad, Bob Stevens, coached in Green River but worked at one of the Trona Mines—-Steve

  7. John Wahl on August 12, 2010 at 11:11 am said:

    1. Walt McDonald-born in Worley and Worley HS
    2. Paul Sanders-born in Otto, Basin HS

  8. John Wahl on August 12, 2010 at 11:13 am said:

    oops that should be Worland, obviously. Sorry I am not from Wyoming

  9. John Wahl on August 12, 2010 at 11:35 am said:

    I found some more:
    1. Tim Moynihan-Rawlins HS
    -also attended high school in Chicago,IL and that is what is probably listed on those sites you looked at.
    -Notre Dame
    -18 NFL games Chicago Cardinals-32-33′

    2. Jesse Johnson-Cheyenne East
    -born in Fort Collins, Co
    -went to U of Colorado
    -45 NFL games

    3. Mike McLeod-Cheyenne East
    -a 3rd for Cheyenne East
    -born in Bozeman,MT
    -went to Montana State
    -20 NFL games

    4. Jim Eliopulos-Cheyenne Central
    -born in Dearborn,Mi
    -went to U of Wyoming
    -31 NFL games

    5. Boyd Dowler technically went to “Cheyenne HS”,class of 55′, it became Cheyenne Central in 1960′

    6. Aaron Elling-Valley HS,Lander-93′?
    -born in Waconia,MN
    -U of Wyoming
    -18? NFL games as Kicker for MN

    7. Wee Willie Smith-Sheridan HS
    -also attended Lexington, NE HS
    -also attended Boise,ID HS
    -Born in Lexington, NE
    -U of Idaho
    -9 NFL games

  10. Patrick on August 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm said:

    John, this is an awesome list. Thanks for all the info you posted here!!!

    If you don’t mind sharing your secret, where did all this info come from?

    Thanks again!

    –patrick

  11. John Wahl on August 12, 2010 at 9:15 pm said:

    I have an old football encyclopedia from 1996. A big old 30 pounder that is falling apart. Well I hand-entered all 1400 pages (every name) into a data-base years ago,so I can look up any state or city instantly for this type of thing. I also did this with baseball and hockey encyclopedias. I have a lot of free time LOL Glad I could be of help.

  12. Patrick on August 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm said:

    Awesome. Sounds like my type of project. 🙂

    Some of these I should have known. I’ve talked to Elling before and I have no idea why I spaced it. Also, Jesse Johnson is NBAer James Johnson’s uncle. It’s weird to see that Jesse Johnson — like Troy Dumas — was never an all-state selection in Wyoming.

    As for the Cheyenne/Central designation, I go with Central to avoid any confusion… although not technically correct, it saves me a lot of grief.

    Anyway, again, this is fantastic. I really appreciate the help!! Thanks a million times. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do to return the favor, but if there is, let me know.

    –patrick

  13. John Wahl on August 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm said:

    Well Patrick, since you offered. I need help on a couple high school nicknames.
    1. Campbell County/Gillette HS
    2. Cheyenne HS Indians? I know Cheyenne Central is/was Indians,but what was Cheyenne HS original nickname? and is Central still called the Indians?
    3. Fremont County Vocational HS
    4. Lingle HS Doggers?

    I am using my database to make a map for Wyoming ,among other states. This is where I actually looked to compile my list for you, but that info was gathered from my old encyclopedia among other sources. My map isn’t finished yet,so I don’t like to make them viewable to the public until they are done, but you’d probably enjoy it. A You can look up any high-school and see who is famous from each one, each city and see who was born there etc. I can make it available for your perusal, but like I said it’s not finished and I am constantly changing some things.

  14. Patrick on August 13, 2010 at 8:06 am said:

    1. Gillette Camels.

    2. Cheyenne/Cheyenne Central has always been and remains the Indians.

    3. As I understand it, Fremont County Vocational is basically the same as Lander HS (aka Lander Valley HS). Same school, three names…. I think.

    4. Lingle Doggers is correct. As in Bulldoggers, like in a rodeo.

    I post some info on the teams in Wyoming here: http://www.wyoming-football.com/schooldetails.html You may find that helpful/interesting.

    When you get your map for Wyoming done, let me know. That sounds like a blast!

    –patrick

  15. John Wahl on August 13, 2010 at 10:41 am said:

    Wow,Awesome list!!!. Someone needs to make one of those for Minnesota (and every state for that matter), where I have run into dozens of defunct/now combined schools and no way of knowing their nicknames. I have looked and looked and looked. There are not many lists like this out there for other states. At least not for former schools. I’m impressed. Something tells me it might have to be ME who tackles something similar.

    I’ll post my map site soon. I made a ton of updates yesterday. It’s almost ready for viewing.

  16. John Wahl on August 13, 2010 at 4:26 pm said:

    ok, here is the address. I have changed the settings so people can view it.

    http://www.communitywalk.com/wyoming_/map/175259

  17. troy dumas on September 26, 2010 at 10:40 am said:

    Patrick, you missed James Johnson who played at Cheyenne East and played for the New York Jets.

  18. Boyd Dowler went to Wyoming for college, not Colorado.

  19. Patrick on October 11, 2010 at 9:10 pm said:

    Boyd Dowler’s NFL.com profile: http://www.nfl.com/players/boyddowler/profile?id=DOW415287
    Boyd Dowler’s Pro Football Reference page: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/D/DowlBo00.htm
    And check out the last picture on this page: http://www.cubuffs.com/fls/600/classic/content/individuals/ward_dal.html

    Boyd Dowler, without a doubt, went to Colorado for college. Without a doubt, he did NOT go to Wyoming.

    –patrick

  20. http://www.wyoming-football.com/schooldetails.html very useful link in this site. Wyoming has an awesome background for which they may easily feel proud. Don Westbrook is one of my favorite formal player.

  21. Chris on May 23, 2016 at 1:35 pm said:

    Would Corey Bramlet also be eligible for this list?

  22. Patrick on May 23, 2016 at 3:00 pm said:

    Chris, as Corey (and Casey) did not play in a regular-season game for an NFL team, the answer is no. Being signed, being in uniform…. not enough to make this list. Hope that clarifies it.
    –patrick

  23. Didn’t John Wendling play for Detroit? I believe he was the special teams captain.

  24. Patrick on February 7, 2018 at 9:02 am said:

    J, he sure did. I haven’t updated this list in several years.

    –patrick

  25. Jason Taylor on April 28, 2018 at 6:28 pm said:

    John Chick- Gillette, played for the Jacksonville Jaguars

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