Valladay TD vs NIU

Wyoming's Xazavian Valladay scores a touchdown in the Cowboys' win over Northern Illinois on Sept.11 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. Content Exchange

LARAMIE – Xazavian Valladay will use his final year of eligibility in the Pac-12.

Wyoming’s second all-time leading rusher announced Tuesday night that he is transferring to Arizona State.

Valladay rushed for 3,274 yards during his career with the Cowboys, which trails only Brian Hill (4,287 yards, 2014-16) on UW’s career list.

Valladay, the 2019 Arizona Bowl most valuable player, rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown during UW’s 52-38 victory over Kent State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He led the team with 1,070 rushing yards this season.

“I loved coming to Wyoming and had a great career here,” Valladay said before the regular-season finale against Hawaii. “I’m thankful for all the people that paved the way for me. I’m really excited that I got to come across a lot of great people.”

The Cowboys also lose super senior Trey Smith, who had 73 yards and a touchdown on the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho.

UW returns Titus Swen (785 yards, seven touchdowns) and Dawaiian McNeely (113 yards, one touchdown) from this year’s rotation.

Sophomores Jeremy Hollingsworth and Alphonzo Andrews; and freshmen Joseph Braasch, D.Q. James and Jordan Vaughn will also be competing for expanded roles in 2022.

“Nobody has anything to worry about. I truly feel like Wyoming is sort of RBU,” Valladay said. “Those coaches really go out and do a great job of picking up great guys that they believe are not only good guys on the field but off the field. I definitely feel like Wyoming is in good hands.”

Seven of the 10 UW players that entered the transfer portal after the season have found new homes.

Quarterback Sean Chambers announced Monday he is reuniting with Brent Vigen at Montana State. Levi Williams, who replaced Chambers as the starter midway through the season, has transferred to Mountain West champion Utah State.

Snow College quarterback transfer Evan Svoboda will enroll at UW for the spring semester to begin competing with redshirt freshmen Gavin Beerup (6-5, 201) and Hank Gibbs (6-5, 226), Utah transfer Jayden Clemons (6-1, 208) and incoming true freshman Caden Becker (6-4, 220).

Isaiah Neyor, like Valladay, is headed for a Power 5 program. The Pokes’ leading wide receiver will play for Tennessee next season.

Defensive end Victor Jones will play at Akron and safety Rome Weber will play at Western Kentucky. Jones tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks this season after being suspended in 2020, and Weber was seventh on the team with 41 tackles after opting out of the 2020 season.

Backup safety Cameron Murray is transferring down to the FCS level to play for Northern Colorado.

Nickel back Keyon Blankenbaker and cornerbacks C.J. Coldon and Azizi Hearn have not announced where they will play next season.

Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn

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