NOTE: Only players currently on an active NFL roster and who made the NFL Playoffs last week are listed.
Logan Wilson, LB, Cincinnati Bengals (UW/Natrona County HS)
The Bengals’ regular-season and playoff tackle leader didn’t miss defense in the Cincinnati playoffs, and he’ll be the defensive anchor for a Bengals team going to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988.
The former Cowboy and Mustang finished with 10 total tackles against the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s AFC Championship game, helping keep quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the many weapons in his arsenal to three points in second half and overtime in a thrilling 27-24. comeback victory at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City – the Bengals’ second win over the Chiefs this season. Wilson and Cincinnati will face the NFC champions, the Los Angeles Rams, in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium (home of the Rams) in Los Angeles.
Emerging stars Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are making headlines for Cincinnati — and rightfully so — but without Wilson, it’s entirely possible the Bengals haven’t gotten this far. He arguably played the team’s defining play in the playoffs, an interception by Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill with 20 seconds left in the AFC Divisional Round that helped set up kicker Evan McPherson for a winning basket at the end of the allotted time.
Wilson will be one of the mainstays of a unit tasked with stopping Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (who is also making his first Super Bowl appearance) and a plethora of offensive talent, alongside receivers Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr., in the biggest game of his life. He will also face former UW teammate in cornerback Tyler Hall, who has been on Los Angeles’ practice squad for most of the season.
The Bengals are on a magical playoff run, going from not having won a playoff game in 31 years to being within a win of the first Super Bowl win in franchise history. Wilson plays a major role in Cincinnati’s pursuit of glory, and he now has a significant chance to join the likes of Jerry Hill, Brett Keisel and Boyd Dowler on a shortlist of Super Bowl-winning players who can call Cowboy State. at home.
James Johnson, F, Brooklyn Nets (Cheyenne East HS)
Brooklyn has lost four straight since Jan. 23, but Johnson’s recent streak may be his best of the season.
The former Thunderbird averaged 12 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the Nets’ three matchups this week against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, with Johnson dropping 14 points on Golden State at San Francisco – his highest scoring outing of the year since scoring 17 against the Orlando Magic on Nov. 19.
The Nets (48-24) on Tuesday morning are one game behind the No. 1 seed, the Philadelphia 76ers, in the Eastern Conference standings, but are also two games above the No. 3 and defending champion of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks.
Larry Nance, Jr., F, Portland Trail Blazers (UW)
Nance has been inactive since January 7 while dealing with knee inflammation. Prior to his injury, the former Cowboy averaged 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in his first season with his fourth NBA team.