April 30, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Former University of Wyoming safety John Wendling was drafted by the NFL's Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft on Sunday. Wendling was the 10th pick of the sixth round, and was the 184th pick overall. He is a native of Rock Springs, Wyo.
A 6-1, 222-pound strong safety last season for the Cowboys, Wendling played free safety his first three seasons at UW and could play either position at the next level.
Three other Wyoming seniors reportedly signed free-agent contracts with NFL teams on Monday, April 30. Those three were offensive tackle Chase Johnson (Minnesota Vikings) and defensive linemen Corey Mace (Buffalo Bills) and Aaron Robbins (Pittsburgh Steelers).
Wendling concluded his Wyoming football career as one of the most decorated student-athletes in school history. His myriad of honors was highlighted by being named a Second Team All-American by College Football News.com and earning one of the most prestigious awards in all of college football by being named a national finalist for the Draddy Trophy, which is presented annually by the National Football Foundation (NFF) to the top football scholar-athlete in the country. Wendling attended the 49th Annual NFF Awards Dinner in New York City on Dec. 5 where he was presented with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as one of only 17 national finalists for the Draddy Trophy. He earned one of the nation's top academic honors when ESPN The Magazine named him a Second Team Academic All-American in voting by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Mountain West Conference head coaches and media members also voted Wendling a First Team All-Mountain West Conference selection at the conclusion of the 2006 season. He finished his four-year career ranked No. 10 in school history in career tackles, with 259. The Rock Springs, Wyo., native was elected Wyoming's defensive team captain as a senior. He led Wyoming in tackles his senior season, being credited with 78. Wendling played in the East-West Shrine game to conclude his college playing career and participate in this year's NFL Combine.
Johnson a 6-8, 325-pound offensive tackle from Loveland, Colo., signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings. He started 47 consecutive games at left tackle for the Cowboys. That included every game from the very first game of his redshirt freshman season through the last game of his senior campaign. Johnson earned First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors as a senior in voting by conference media members and head football coaches. Johnson was voted Wyoming's offensive team captain his senior season. He played in the North-South All-Star Classic in Houston, Texas, at the conclusion of his college football season, and like his teammate, Wendling, participated in the 2007 NFL Combine.
Mace at 6-3, 276 pounds played two seasons for the Cowboys at defensive end after transferring to UW from Palomar Community College in California. His senior season at Wyoming, Mace earned Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors, while ranking fourth on the team in tackles with 51. That was tops for all of the Cowboy defensive linemen in 2006. He originally hales from Port Moody, British Columbia.
At 6-4, 256 pounds, Robbins was one of the most versatile athletes the Cowboys had on their roster in recent history. He began his college career as a tight end/H-back, but played his last two seasons as a defensive end. In 2003, Robbins earned Honorable Mention All-MWC honors as a tight end. It was reported that Pittsburgh may be looking to utilize Robbins as a tight end or fullback at the NFL level. He is originally from Aurora, Colo.
Mace, Robbins and Wendling were leaders of a Wyoming defense that ranked No. 8 in the nation in total defense in 2006 and No. 9 in pass defense, allowing opponents only 262.9 total yards and only 156.3 passing yards per game. UW also ranked No. 13 in the country in pass defense efficiency, with a rating of 104.9.