Wyoming kicker John Hoyland rewarded with a scholarship

Wyoming kicker John Hoyland celebrates with teammate Justis Borton after kicking a field goal against Nevada on Oct. 24, 2020, at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev. Hoyland, a former walk-on, has been placed on scholarship.

Davis Potter [email protected]

LARAMIE — Turns out John Hoyland’s All-America season earned him more than just postseason accolades.

Wyoming’s freshman kicker has been placed on scholarship, UW coach Craig Bohl announced Tuesday night following the Cowboys’ first spring practice. Hoyland joined the Cowboys’ program as a walk-on last year after playing his prep ball at Legacy High in Bloomfield, Colorado.

“John did a great job for us, and he’s been placed on scholarship,” Bohl said in a statement.

Hoyland looked like anything but a non-scholarship player in his inaugural season with the Cowboys after being thrust into the starting role at placekicker following an injury to Luke Glassock, who entered the Cowboys’ pandemic-shortened season at the top of the depth chart there.

Hoyland went 4-for-4 on field goals in his first collegiate game against Nevada, including a career-long 42-yarder that sent the game to overtime. That performance helped the 5-foot-10, 184-pounder go from a temporary fill-in to the heir apparent to Cooper Rothe, who finished his UW career in 2019 as the program’s all-time leading scorer.

Hoyland missed just one kick last fall, finishing 13 of 14 on field goals and 16 of 16 on extra points. He led the Mountain West in field-goal percentage and scoring (9.2 points per game) on his way to second-team all-conference honors. Hoyland also was named a freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.

Vaccines encouraged

With COVID-19 vaccines becoming more readily available in Wyoming, Bohl said he’s encouraging all of his players to get vaccinated.

Ultimately, though, the decision is up to them.

The university announced late last month that all members of the UW community are now eligible to be vaccinated for the novel coronavirus as it plans a return to normal operation come the fall semester. Albany County’s vaccination program recently entered Phase 2 under the guidelines of the Wyoming Department of Health, which makes all county residents ages 16 and older eligible to schedule vaccination appointments.

“Vaccines have become available for our students now on a sign-up basis,” said Bohl, who was vaccinated earlier this year. “Some of our guys have vaccinated. A good portion have. But right now that’s a decision they’re making.”

Out for now

Defensive tackle Ravontae Holt continues to work his way back from the torn ACL he sustained last season. Bohl said Holt is “ahead of schedule” with his rehab following surgery, but Holt won’t do much this spring outside of some light running.

Another defensive tackle, Jordan Bertagnole, will miss the spring because of an undisclosed injury. But UW does have a couple of other players back at the position in Mario Mora and Claude Cole, both of whom opted out last season amid medical concerns related to the pandemic.

Other players who will miss the spring as they rehab injuries are tight end Jackson Marcotte, freshman receiver Alex Brown, freshman offensive lineman Mason Schultz, freshman defensive end Braden Siders and freshman safety Keshaun Taylor.

Not active in the portal

The NCAA transfer portal is heating up in anticipation of a one-time transfer exception soon becoming reality.

Should the transfer rule be passed by college sports’ governing body as expected later this year, it would allow Division I athletes in all sports to transfer once without having to sit out a season in order to be eligible, which is normally standard procedure for athletes transferring from one four-year school to another.

UW has brought in some transfers in recent years in running back Trey Smith and specialist Nick Null (who has since left the program), but they were graduate transfers. Bohl said it’s doubtful that UW will add any undergraduate transfers to next season’s roster.

“Never say never, but that’s just not been our MO,”Bohl said, “I can tell you we’re not actively sorting through guys (in the portal) right now.”