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Wyoming QB Brett Smith To Enter Draft

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Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith on Friday became the first underclassman at the position to declare for the NFL draft. New Cowboys coach Craig Bohl will have to find a new signal-caller. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.
Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith on Friday became the first underclassman at the position to declare for the NFL draft. New Cowboys coach Craig Bohl will have to find a new signal-caller. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.


Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft, the team announced Friday night.

New head coach Craig Bohl and incoming offensive coordinator Brent Vigen traveled to Oregon to meet with Smith last weekend to "talk to (him) about the future of Cowboy football," the team said in a release. They'll have to launch their brand of Wyoming ball without the star quarterback, who doesn't project as a high-round pick.

Smith, listed as 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds, is a dual-threat quarterback who ran for 20 touchdowns and 4.1 yards per carry at Wyoming. He managed career bests in completion percentage (62.7) and passing yards (3,375) in 2013, but his yards per attempt and interception rate declined.

In his most productive game this year, he threw for 498 yards and seven touchdowns in an overtime win against Hawaii, rushing for another 142 yards and a touchdown.

“After much consideration, I have decided to forgo my senior season at UW to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the National Football League,” Smith said in a statement. “Wyoming has been such a special place for me and my family, and will always hold a special place in my heart.

“I’m so thankful to have played with such great guys over the past three years. I have so much respect for Coach Bohl and know that we will be very successful at Wyoming. I appreciate him coming out and meeting with me and my family this past weekend and talking with us about his vision for the future of Cowboy Football."

Smith, barely recruited by FBS programs despite being Oregon's Gatorade player of the year in 2010, came to Wyoming under Dave Christensen, fired after a 1-5 finish kept the Cowboys from reaching a bowl game. Bohl turned North Dakota State into a certifiable dynasty at the FCS level before accepting the Wyoming job and make a regular habit of thrashing FBS schools with a high-octane offense that would've been fun to watch with Smith at quarterback.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. doesn't rank Smith in his list of top quarterbacks, while NFLDraftScout.com ranks Smith as the eighth-best quarterback prospect. A wide range of opinions surfaced among draft experts Friday on Twitter, with some admitting they need to re-watch some Wyoming tape now that Smith has declared.

Smith, the first underclassman quarterback to officially declare for the draft, draws comparisons to Johnny Manziel with his reported 4.6 speed, abundance of confidence and improvisation.

"We wish Brett (Smith) and his family the best as he chases his dream to play at the NFL level,” Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman said in a statement. “Brett has been a great ambassador for our athletics department, our university and the state of Wyoming during his time as a Cowboy. 

"We will miss him, and I know Wyoming fans and his teammates will miss him. When he contacted me late this afternoon, he said after talking with his family he felt the time was right for him to pursue a professional career. I thanked him for letting us know as soon as he had made his decision.”

Wyoming likely will turn to 2014 redshirt junior Jason Thompson, with whom Bohl and Vigen also met last weekend, or 2014 sophomore Tommy Thornton.