Cowboys Gafford, Van Maanen and Cummings Get Shot at NFL

Wyoming cornerback Rico Gafford, tight end Drew Van Maanen, and offensive lineman Ryan Cummings will have an opportunity to continue their football careers past the college level.

Gafford received a free-agent offer from the Tennessee Titans, the University of Wyoming announced in a release.. Cummings and Van Maanen were invited to attend the Houston Texas camp, according to Brandon Foster of the Capser Star-Tribune.

Gafford was a two-year starter at cornerback for the Wyoming Cowboys after transferring from Iowa Western Community College.  He was a Second Team All-Mountain West selection in 2017.  Gafford was invited to and played in the 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 20, 2018.

Last fall, he led the Cowboys in pass breakups (6) and was second in interceptions (4).  His interceptions came against Iowa, Oregon, Texas State and Utah State.  Gafford returned his interception vs. Texas State 37 yards for a touchdown.  He added 43 tackles, one forced fumble and 1.0 tackle for loss as a senior. 

Gafford was part of a Wyoming defense that ranked No. 1 in the nation in turnovers forced (38), No. 1 in the country in fumbles recovered (18) and No. 2 in the nation in passes intercepted (20).  The Cowboy defense also ranked No. 9 in the NCAA in scoring defense (17.5 points allowed per game), No. 13 in pass defense (174.9 yards per game) and No. 23 in total defense (335.2 yards per game).  His best individual tackle games were: eight vs. Hawai’i, seven against San Jose State and four vs. Air Force. 

At Wyoming’s 2018 Pro Day, Gafford ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any draft-eligible player in the country this year.  Gafford was recorded at times ranging from a 4.26 to a 4.19 by various scouts who attended Wyoming’s Pro Day on March 23 in Laramie.

Gafford, Van Maanen, and Cummings were part of Wyoming teams that won eight games in the 2017 (8-6 record) and 2018 (8-5) seasons, played in consecutive bowl games, hosted the 2016 Mountain West Championship Game and concluded the 2017 season with a 37-14 win over Central Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.  

In four years at Wyoming, Van Maanen caught 14 passes for 170 yards and ran the ball twice for five yards. He was a team captain as a senior.

Van Maanen was also Wyoming’s backup long snapper.. Van Maanen said he has continued to practice his snapping in hopes that it makes him a more versatile prospect.

Cummings moved from right tackle to left guard before his senior season at Wyoming, when he also battled spinal meningitis and a concussion. Cummings hadn’t played guard since high school, when he also spent two years at center. He hopes that his versatility will be a selling point.

“You’ve got to play every position, left side, right side, guard, tackle, even possibly snapping the ball,” Cumming told Foster in a February interview. “And I’ve played all those in my life. ... From all the crazy stuff I’ve had, from the concussion to the illness and all that, I think it definitely shows not a lot of people can do that. Switch from left side to right side to left side, switching positions, I don’t think a lot of guys can do that. And that’s one thing that’s on my side right now is I’m super versatile."


Tracy RingolsbyComment