It's Official: Vander Waal Gets First Shot At Filling QB Shoes of Josh Allen
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- The expectation became reality. Redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal will open the season as the starting quarterback for the University of Wyoming, filling the void created when Josh Allen passed on a senior season and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, the seventh player taken overall.
Having been at the top of the play list in spring ball and then pre-season workouts, there was every expectation the nod would go to Vander Waal over fifth-year senior Nick Smith. But even Vander Waal was in limbo, until he saw a tweet during lunch that he was at the top of the depth charge released Monday for Saturday night's season opener at New Mexico State.
It, however, wasn't until Monday, when the depth chart for Saturday night's season opener at New Mexico State was released that coach Craig Bohl made the decision official.
For the full depth chart to go: https://www.insidetheseams.com/football/2018/8/20/laramie-crum-a-rare-freshman-on-cowboys-season-opening-depth-chart
Vander Waal has never appeared in a game for the Cowboys, but he is no newcomer. A year ago, while he was a redshirt, he was on the sidelines, wearing the head phones and keeping in touch with the coaches in the pressbox.
"Last year, traveling and seeing how fast the game was was a big help," said Vander Waal.
"Being around Josh was a big help, too. He helped me when he came off to the sidelines. We'd talk about what he was seeing and guys were doing.
"I had a chance to see how he handled the pressure, how he game planned, and watched game fillm."
Adams won't be there to learn on this year, though.
"I've got big shoes to fill," said Vander Waal. "We're definitely similar types. We are both big, pocket passers. We are both mobile. I have the ability to run when I have to, also."
One of the more interesting decisions was senior Nico Evans, who was primarily a blocking back on third-down plays a year ago, earning the No. 1 running back slow on the depth charge.
The senior from Los Angeles is ahead of redshirt freshman Xazavin Valladay, true freshman Jevon Bigelow, and junior Kellen Overstreet, who missed extended workout time with a leg injury that impact where he wound up on the depth charge.
"The job is not over," Evans said. "The whole season is going to be a competition. I can't realx. I have to (continue) to do all the things I have been doing. I'm extremely excited. I worked so hard to get to this point so it is exciting that it paid off."
Evans did say he got a hint that the decision would go his way during the weekend.
"When I was named (a) captain, I go, `Okay, it's probably official, I'm going to start the season,'" said Evans.
That honor also gave Evans a personal boost.
"It makes it extra special to be selected by my teammates," he said. "Those are the guys I respect the most. To see that they hold me in such high regard is an amazing feeling."
From the Wyoming Media Guide
Vander Waal was ranked as a three-star recruit by Rivals, Scout.com and 247 Sports. 247 Sports also ranked Vander Waal as the 174th best overall recruit in the state of California in the 2017 recruiting class. He was selected to the Sacramento Bee First Team All-Metro team in 2016.
His senior season, Vander Waal completed 60.7 percent of his passes (202 for 333 passes) for 2,926 yards. He threw 25 touchdown passes and had only nine of his passes intercepted. Vander Waal also rushed for 378 yards on 118 rushing attempts, scored six rushing touchdowns and accounted for 3,304 yards of total offense. He averaged 209.0 yards passing per game and 236.0 yards of total offense per game.
Vander Waal led Christian Brothers High to an 11-3 overall record and a 5-0 record in the Capital Athletic League to win the conference championship. Christian Brothers advanced to the 2016 Championship Game of the Sac-Joaquin Sectional Playoffs for Division III. Christian Brothers entered the sectional playoffs seeded No. 3. The Falcons defeated No. 14 seed Cordova, 30-20, in the first round; beat 11th seed Burbank, 21-14, in the quarterfinals; and captured a 29-0 victory over No. 2 seed American Canyon in the semifinals. The Falcons lost the sectional championship game to No. 1 seed Oakdale.
Vander Waal was also recruited by Ball State, Boise State, California, Colorado, Colorado State, Nevada, San Jose State, Utah and Washington State.