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University of Wyoming true freshman kicker John Hoyland, right, attempts a field goal during the Cowboys' 37-34 overtime loss to Nevada on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Reno, Nev.

LARAMIE – Given that he began the 2020 season as an unknown commodity, University of Wyoming freshman kicker John Hoyland certainly racked up the accolades during his first season in Laramie.

Hoyland, a walk-on from Broomfield, Colorado who didn't even appear on the Cowboys' preseason depth chart but wound up among the best kickers in the Mountain West, was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writer's Association of America, the FWAA announced Monday morning.

Kicker was a major question mark heading into the 2020 season following the graduation of Cooper Rothe, a four-year starter and UW's all-time leading scorer. A groin injury to projected starter Luke Glassock leading into the opener at Nevada forced Hoyland, who missed time during fall camp due to COVID-19 protocols, onto the field at Reno in his stead.

The true freshman was a revelation, making all four of his field goal attempts, including a 42-yarder that sent the game to overtime and a 38-yarder in overtime that gave UW a momentary lead.

Hoyland, who became an internet sensation due to his wearing a red shoe on his kicking foot, ended the season 13 of 14 on field goals and made all 16 of his extra point attempts. He also led the country in field goals made per game (2.17) and was a second team All-Mountain West selection. 

“I can tell you this, we have a placekicker,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said after the season. “He had a red shoe, and that’s about all I knew (about him). And next thing you know, 21 days later, hell, I’m excited if he can kick and extra point in our first game. He did great this year.”

Seven UW players have made the FWAA's Freshman All-American team in its 20 years of existence: Hoyland, defensive end Solomon Byrd (2019), center Keegan Cryder (2018), linebacker Logan Wilson (2016), safety Andrew Winged (2015), cornerback Blair Burns (2011) and safety Shamiel Gary (2009).

Michael Katz covers the University of Wyoming for WyoSports. He can be reached at mkatz@wyosports.net or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @michaellkatz.

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