LARAMIE -- For the second time this offseason, Wyoming's starting quarterback has left town.
Former Cowboys quarterback Jason Thompson transferred to the University of Utah where he is now enrolled, Utah spokeswoman Liz Abel confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Thompson was expected to be the Cowboys' starter in the 2014 season after junior quarterback Brett Smith declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. Thompson started one game at quarterback in his Wyoming career.
On Tuesday afternoon, the University of Utah's athletics compliance Twitter account (@UofUCompliance) tweeted, "Welcome to #utenation @JThompson_425 @AlaniHavili and Jackson Barton! #goutes Thanks for stopping by Compliance."
"@JThompson_425" is Thompson's Twitter account.
Former Wyoming coach Dave Christensen, who was fired in November, is now the offensive coordinator at Utah. Thompson will have to sit out next season because of NCAA transfer rules, and will then have two years of eligibility. Multiple attempts to reach Thompson were unsuccessful.
Two of Thompson's cousins recently played at Utah. Matt Asiata was a running back from 2007 to 2010 and Shawn Asiata played the same position in 2010 and 2011.
The former Wyoming quarterback recently asked to be released from his scholarship at Wyoming, athletics director Tom Burman confirmed Tuesday.
"He has asked to be released," Burman said via text. "We want him to return to UW as we believe this is the best place for him to develop as a QB and student, but all indications are he is going elsewhere."
In compliance with NCAA rules, Utah contacted Burman to formally request permission to contact Thompson, who was still on scholarship at Wyoming. Therefore, tampering does not seem to be an issue regardless of Christensen's prior relationship with Thompson.
"We are planning to move forward," Burman said.
Thompson, who redshirted last season, completed 27 of 52 passes for 222 yards in six games at Wyoming, with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 121 yards.
After declaring for the NFL Draft on Dec. 27, Smith said he thought Wyoming was in good hands with Thompson under center.
“First and foremost, he’s a great person," Smith said. "I’ve always enjoyed his company in the quarterback room and on the field. He’s a very hard worker, too, and obviously he has the athletic ability and the capability to make big plays every time he goes out on that field.
"I know that he’s going to be an outstanding quarterback. I don’t see my records lasting too much longer.”
The only scholarship quarterback currently remaining on Wyoming's roster is freshman Tommy Thornton. The 6-foot-1 Thornton, from Tempe, Ariz., completed three of four passes for 15 yards and ran six times for eight yards in mop-up duty last season.
Incoming freshman Austin Fort, from Gillette, may also vie for the starting quarterback job in Laramie. But though Smith and Thompson are no longer ahead of him on the depth chart, Fort said Tuesday that he knows nothing will be handed to him.
“I’m definitely excited about the opportunity to come in and start, but I have to earn it," Fort said. "It’s not just going to be given to me. There is still going to be other quarterbacks that are there when I get there. My focus is just on being the best quarterback that I can be and working hard every day until I move down to Laramie so I put myself in position to compete for that spot.”
Freshman walk-on T.J. Patterson is the only other quarterback on Wyoming's roster.
New Wyoming coach Craig Bohl and offensive coordinator Brent Vigen visited both Thompson and Smith at their homes on Dec. 21 and 22 to discuss their futures at Wyoming.
After winning a third consecutive FCS national championship as head coach at North Dakota State on Saturday, Bohl was expected to arrive in Laramie on Tuesday evening, UW spokesman Tim Harkins said.
Bohl was not available for comment Tuesday, but he will address all questions at a press conference at 4 p.m. on Wednesday in Laramie.