Freshman wide out Jaylen Sargent checks all the boxes
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl looks for three things before he will even think about playing a true freshman:
Is there a need at the position?
Do they have the physical ability?
Are they emotionally mature enough?
Jaylen Sargent checks all of those boxes. Wyoming's head coach has raved about the wide receiver from Logan, Utah since the Cowboys 126-play scrimmage last Saturday in Laramie.
From the sounds of it, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound pass catcher is carving out a spot for himself in the lineup.
"I think he fits all three of those categories," Bohl said of Sargent. "I think that there's a good chance you'll see No. 17 out there playing in some role for us as a wide receiver."
Bohl said there's typically one rookie standout in camp every year. That guy in 2021, no doubt, is Sargent. But if you ask the man himself, he's not sure where the surprise part comes in.
"If I'm being honest with you, I have a lot of faith in myself," Sargent said. "My thoughts were, I'm just going to come out here and do what I've got to do."
That doesn't mean there haven't been hiccups.
Admittedly, Sargent said the game is still moving lightning quick. The playbook, yeah, that's like learning a foreign language. When the words "route tree" is mentioned, his eyes get big. His head shakes.
"It's crazy," he said with a smile.
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So, how did Wyoming snag a three-star player out of rival Utah State's backyard?
It's not as complicated of an answer as one might think.
"They just didn't seem that interested in me," Sargent said, adding that he grew up and Aggies fan and always imagined himself playing inside Maverik Stadium. "When coach Bohl reached out to me, he was really invested in me. I just thought, this is the place to go."
Sargent was a first team All-State performer last season after hauling in 60 catches for 886 yards and 11 touchdowns. 247 Sports named him the 27th best recruit in Utah.
Air Force took notice. So did Ivy League school, Dartmouth. Utah State kicked the tires late. Bohl said new head coach Blake Anderson tried to "flip" Sargent before signing day. Other in-state programs, BYU and Utah, eventually entered the game, offering a walk-on opportunity.
"If you would have told me when I was younger that I'd go to the University of Wyoming, I wouldn't believe you," he said. "Now, I'm glad that it's happening."
Super senior wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt is atop the depth chart on one side, Isaiah Neyor on the other. Devin Jennings and Joshua Cobbs are also on the Cowboys' two-deep. With the potential season-ending injury suffered this offseason by Gunner Gentry, Bohl is looking for additional depth.
It appears he found it.
"Jaylen's got really good hands, he runs excellent routes and he's a smart player," Bohl said. "So, we're going to take a hard look at playing him this year."
Sargent can't help but think that all of those early morning training sessions with his father and grueling, bitter cold Sunday workouts with his little brother are starting to pay off.
"My entire family just really emphasized working really hard when no one else is watching," he said. "... I'm glad that everything is starting to show up on the field."
As for the Cowboys' Nov. 20 date with the Aggies in his hometown, you can bet that one has already been circled on the calendar.
"Oh, yeah," Sargent said. "I'm working my butt off for that game."