Jan. 14, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. - With the start of the 2014 spring semester at the University of Wyoming, the Cowboy Football team received some great news when two Cowboy seniors were awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Senior linebacker Devyn Harris from Fountain, Colo., and senior defensive lineman and 2013 team captain Patrick Mertens from Sterling, Colo., were both granted an extra year of eligibility due to missing previous seasons with injury and illness.
The two seniors will add a great deal of experience to the Cowboy defense in 2014. They have combined to start 48 career games and have been credited with a combined 276 career tackles.
Harris, who was injured in the 2012 season opener at Texas and missed the remainder of that season, will return to the Cowboy squad after recording 49 tackles in 12 games in 2013. Harris also recovered two fumbles, had 1.0 sack, 3.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup in 2013. He had two of his best games of the year in the final two games of the 2013 season. Harris recorded nine tackles, including eight solo tackles, 1.0 sack, 2.0 tackles for loss and a pass breakup against Hawai'i. Harris made the key stop in overtime versus Hawai'i when on a fourth and one, he tackled the Rainbow Warrior running back for a one-yard loss, leading to the Cowboys kicking the winning field goal on the next possession. Harris followed that up with a 12-tackle effort in the season finale at Utah State. Against the Aggies, Harris was also credited with a quarterback hurry and a tackle for a loss. Harris has started 18 of 38 career games as a Cowboy, and has recorded 169 career tackles.
Mertens missed the entire 2011 season due to a serious illness, which he fought back from to start six games in 2012 and all 12 games in 2013. Voted a team captain in 2013 by his teammates, Mertens played nose tackle this past season. He recorded 34 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 5.0 tackles for loss, forced one fumble and recovered one fumble. Mertens had a season-high six tackles against New Mexico, including 1.0 sack and 1.0 TFL. He also recorded five tackles at Nebraska and five versus Idaho. In 2010 and 2012, Mertens played defensive tackle. He has started 30 of 36 career games as a Cowboy, and has been credited with 107 career tackles
In 2010, both Harris and Mertens earned Freshman All-America honors. Harris was a Fourth Team Freshman All-American as selected by Phil Steele and Mertens was a Phil Steele Second Team Freshman All-American.
It was also announced on Tuesday that two scholarship players would not be returning to the Cowboy Football program. Sophomore back-up linebacker Zack Berg from Edmonds, Wash., who appeared in eight games in 2013 but was not credited with a tackle, plans to transfer to another school. Junior center Albert Perez, who originally transferred to Wyoming from East Los Angeles Community College in the summer of 2013, also has decided not to return to UW. He appeared in nine games in 2013 and started six, but did not play in the final two games of the season. Those two join junior quarterback Brett Smith, who announced on Dec. 27 that he will forego his senior season to enter this year's NFL Draft, and redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Thompson, who transferred to the University of Utah.