Opportunity, a childhood dream, nearby scholarship offers, a change of scenery and a handful of sincere phone calls all raced through Will Pelissier’s mind as he sat down with his family in the weeks leading up to Wednesday morning.
The Big Horn senior accomplished nearly everything that he wanted during his high school football career. He just needed to figure out what came next.
His home state’s only collegiate football team — the same one he’d dreamed of playing for growing up — had a walk-on spot open for him. The University of Montana and Montana State, as well as some NAIA programs, made their pitches as well. In the end, the dream won out. On Wednesday Pelissier announced that he’ll continue his academic career at the University of Wyoming and join its football program as a preferred walk-on.
“I just kind of thought that it’s an opportunity that not everyone gets and I’ve got to take it,” Pelissier explained. “Only a few kids get this chance every year so I’ve got to make the most of this opportunity.”
UW assistant coach Shannon Moore started contacting Pelissier this past summer. Moore spends his time on head coach Craig Bohl’s staff as fullbacks and tight ends coach, as well as co-special teams coordinator. He invited the senior down to Laramie for a few games and they floated the possibility of the Ram becoming a Cowboy.
Wyoming coaches want the speedy, dynamic playmaker as a wide receiver. Pelissier said he believes that his size (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) and speed (he ran a 6.76 in the 55-meter dash at the Gillette Invitational last month) work in his favor at the next level. He’ll also be aided by his play-making ability. This past season he averaged 198 all-purpose yards with a classification-leading 34 touchdowns. He led a prolific Big Horn offense on the ground (136.5 yards per game, 25 TDs) and added 441 yards with 7 touchdowns in the air.
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Big Horn went a combined 41-3 in his four years, winning three state championships with two different head coaches and ending his career on a 22-game winning streak. He credited Big Horn head coach Kirk McLaughlin and former Rams coach Michael McGuire (now offensive coordinator at Dickinson State) with helping him grow as both a person and player.
“They really have taught me about hard work,” Pelissier said. “To do something special you have to put in the work. The past few years our team has done that and it’s obviously paid off.”
He considered himself lucky to have been part of the Big Horn football program and all its accomplishments, even though there’s that one game that still eats at him.
“I wish we could have won the 2017 state championship,” he gritted. “But not a lot of people can say they won three state championships in football so I’m pretty happy.”
Pelissier decided to not play basketball this winter and instead run on Big Horn’s indoor track team. He’s also started coming into the weight room before school in addition to his in-school workouts.
The reigning Super 25 selection said he’s enjoying the day as much as he can. After all, it’s an opportunity that he doesn’t take lightly.
“I wanted to put on the brown and gold,” he said. “I know they have a great coaching staff down there and they’ll do everything they can to make me a better player and person.”
Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans