Pokes’ running backs are heartbroken for Dawaiian McNeely, but ready to step up in his absence

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 11:53 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Cowboys season opener is fast approaching, and like any Craig Bohl team, this year’s Pokes squad will be setting the tone with the run game. However, they will be missing one of their top backs with Dawaiian McNeely out for the season.

Fellow rusher D.Q. James said that he’s ready to shoulder more of the workload, and believes that McNeely will come back even stronger next season when he’s recovered from the ACL tear.

”I’m prepared most definitely, a lot. Like I had to put the big boy shoes on. Speaking on Dawaiian, coming back from an injury from last year and then back dealing with an injury this year was kind of-- you know it feels like it was his year. Like it really was, it was the year. Came, did what he had to do you know? But like I told him once before-- like I told everyone else-- the man above is going to test you before he bless you every time,” James said.

James was ultra effective anytime he was on the field last season; he played in nine games with one start before he suffered a torn ACL of his own, and posted a clip of 8.7 yards per carry.

Joining him on the depth chart are a couple transfers. Jamari Ferrell came to Laramie from Saddleback Community College, where he led the team with 453 rushing yards; Ferrell also scored three touchdowns while maintaining a rushing average of 4.5 yards. Meanwhile, Harrison Waylee joins the team after a successful run at Northern Illinois. He was the Huskies’ leading rusher at just a hair under 900 yards, and was efficient with his touches as well with 5.4 per carry while finding pay dirt five times in 2022.

Waylee will miss the beginning of the season recovering from injury, but he believes in his ability to perform just as much as he does the guys in the RB room with him.

”Dawaiian going down was definitely something I wasn’t really hoping to hear because he’s been waiting for this chance for a long time. And yes you know, no matter what’s going to happen I’ll step up and take that spot and produce and get us what we need to get. But even if it’s not me, we got running backs, we have such a great room that any one of those guys can do it. So I’m not really worried about it,” Waylee said.

With Waylee on the shelf for the next few weeks, Ferrell and James, respectively, top the depth chart.