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Wyoming Hypes Heisman Candidate for First Time

August 17, 1996

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) _ Heisman Trophy voters are receiving a Neiman Marcus gift box this year from the University of Wyoming.

The box is a parody on the upscale department store and it’s being used by Wyoming as it tries for the first time ever to hype a Heisman candidate _ wide receiver Marcus Harris.

Voters are given a two-minute video highlighting Harris’ achievements: NCAA-leading 1,431 yards as a sophomore and 1,423 yards as a junior, a 124.1 yard per game average over two years, 19.2 yards per catch and at least one reception in 23 consecutive games.

The gift box also includes a paper Rolex with Harris’ picture on one side and the phrase ``It’s about time a receiver won the Heisman″ on the back.

The last Cowboy to even finish in the top 10 in Heisman voting was quarterback Paul Toscano in 1967. This time, Wyoming’s sports information department is going on a $6,000 shopping spree to ensure Harris is at least on voters’ minds.

``That’s not even in the ballpark of what these others are spending, but that’s all we can afford,″ said sports information director Kevin McKinney. ``We felt we’d go ahead and give it a shot. What the heck? He’s not going to get it if we don’t do that.″

The bigger obstacle to shopping Harris’ candidacy is the lack of television exposure for the Western Athletic Conference team. Wyoming plays on national television once this year, against San Diego State on Nov. 7.

``Our location is kind of a tough one for us,″ McKinney said. ``But a Heisman has happened (in the WAC). BYU had one and if the guy has a great year and the Cowboys have a great year, who knows?″

Quarterback Josh Wallwork has no doubt Harris will do well again.

``To get the ball to Marcus is pretty easy,″ Wallwork said. ``When he creates stuff racing from the defensive backs, it’s unbelievable how he can get open.″

Harris, a Minneapolis native who has taken to Wyoming so much that he wears a cowboy hat, has other goals than winning the Heisman. He said he was honored by the hype, but doesn’t want to be caught up by the attention.

``If I had two yards all season and the team went to a bowl I’d be more than happy,″ he said. ``It’s doing the team a service by getting attention. ... But that’s not my style and I’d rather be in the shadows.″

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