DeVonne Harris leads Cowboys in sacks after career-best game

Oct. 29—LARAMIE — DeVonne Harris' football career nearly ended before it had started.

Harris' first position was at running back for his youth football team in Big Lake, Minnesota. But his tenure in the backfield didn't last long.

"I got kicked out of that position because I didn't know my lefts and rights," Harris said. "After that, I started playing more defense, and it started to get really fun."

Harris shifted to defensive end and was eventually recruited to play for the University of Wyoming. The redshirt sophomore is having his strongest season for the Cowboys, leading the team with seven sacks to go along with 32 tackles and one pass deflection.

Harris' best game of his career came during last weekend's 28-14 homecoming win over Utah State. He totaled three sacks and three tackles for a loss to help Wyoming improve to 3-1 in Mountain West play.

"He's really continued to improve," Cowboys coach Craig Bohl said during a news conference Monday. "He's got good length, and he's got long arms, and he runs well. We were concerned about his strength level, but he picked up some really solid muscle mass this off-season. He just continues to get better."

Harris' speed and long arms aren't the only thing that stick out to Bohl. The veteran coach didn't hesitate to give Harris the title for most interesting fashion off the field.

"He's a unique guy, "Bohl said. "He'll come to practice with pajamas on that are who-knows-what color, and he's got socks on and the pajamas are snuck inside the socks. And he wears these goggle glasses."

Bohl's fascination with Harris' style is no secret. In fact, Bohl comments on his choice of clothing at least once a day, Harris said.

"(Bohl) gets on me about that all the time," Harris said. "Usually it's either sweatpants or pajama pants, but it's mostly just plaid pajama pants. He gets on me if I wear, like, a brown shirt or something that just completely clashes with the rest of the outfit.

"He always asks me, 'Do you just get out of bed and pick something up off the floor?' I usually just respond with 'Yes,' because it's whatever I'm feeling comfy with that day."

Tucking his pajamas into his socks isn't just a fashion trend. It's a strategy he learned growing up in Minnesota to help combat the winter weather.

"When you tuck them in those socks, you keep all that heat in," Harris said.

Harris earned a starting spot on the defensive line during fall camp. He was bumped up because of a variety of injuries or players departing through the transfer portal, but he's taken advantage of the opportunity through the Cowboys' first eight games of the season.

"It was nice to get that starting spot, because I've been working a couple years now to get here," Harris said. "Just seeing all that work put in and now getting these results is always nice."

Bohl often groups Harris in with fellow defensive ends Braden Siders and Oluwaseyi Omotosho. Siders and Omotosho have combined for nine sacks and 52 tackles on the other side of UW's defensive line.

"Those three guys — all of our guys have been enjoyable to coach — but those three are unique in the fact that they don't even know what they don't know," Bohl said.

Harris credits the bye week with helping him prepare for Utah State's offensive line. The week off also allowed UW to rest up after playing games in seven consecutive weeks.

"We came out of that bye week with a little extra juice," Harris said. "We were a little bit more rejuvenated and rested, but they were still a good team. I think we just had a little more pep in our step because we wanted to come out of the bye shooting."

Harris is excited to make the trek to Honolulu for this weekend's matchup with Hawaii. His main focus will be to continue building on the momentum he and his teammates earned last weekend.

"It was a great win," Harris said. "We have a lot of momentum coming out of that game. We played great all around, and it's going to be great because this week we have Hawaii and then we're on another bye.

"We're going to play our best before our next bye, and then we're going to finish strong for those last three games."

Alex Taylor{span class="ContentPasted0"} covers the University of Wyoming for WyoSports. He can be reached at {a class="linkified" href="mailto:ataylor@wyosports.net"}ataylor@wyosports.net{/a} or 269-364-3560. Follow him on Twitter at @alex_m_taylor22{/span}