LARAMIE – Jackson Marcotte dreaded making that phone call.

He felt a pit in his stomach. Did he ruin his future? The
guy on the other end of the line is about to break that life-altering news.

Or so he thought.

“When it happened, I was pretty nervous,” Wyoming’s redshirt
freshman said of tearing his ACL during a summer league basketball game before
his senior year of high school. “I was honestly worried.”

Jake Dickert, the Cowboys’ safeties coach at the time, had been recruiting the 6-foot, 7-inch, 250-pound tight end from Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

Marcotte had an official offer from UW. But now he would be
facing a long road back to recovery and missing his entire senior season.

Did the Cowboys still want him?

“There’s a lot of situations where a coach won’t stick with
you,” Marcotte said. “But the first thing (Dickert) said to me was, ‘don’t
worry about your spot here, worry about you.’ They weren’t even worried about
football or anything. They were just worried about me.”

If Marcotte had any doubts about going to school 1,100 miles away, those were squashed in one 5-minute phone conversation. Arkansas and Boston College dipped out of the process early.

Marcotte had two more offers from small in-state schools and a basketball ride to Eastern Illinois.

“That honestly said a lot,” Marcotte said. “It says a lot
about the staff and the culture here.”

Fast forward three years and Marcotte has a recorder in his
face in the Cowboys’ meeting room in Laramie. He is all smiles. He is eager to
get back on the field, a place he hasn’t played a real game since his junior
year of high school.

Marcotte is third on the Wyoming depth chart heading into opening day Aug. 31 against the SEC’s Missouri Tigers, just behind fellow 6-foot, 7-inch sophomore Nate Weinman, and fifth-year senior Josh Harshman.

In 2018, Marcotte spend nearly a month soaking up knowledge from Tyree Mayfield and Austin Fort, two former UW players who went on to the NFL. This season, Harshman has been the leader in the tight end’s room. A guy, Marcotte says, he can lean on when it comes to football or learning about the new state he now calls home.

Marcotte joked about how much practice time he has put in since arriving in Laramie. Now, he’s ready to show that he has absorbed the Wyoming playbook and can indeed be a big-play threat down the middle of the field that will only help the maturation of young signal caller, Sean Chambers.

“I felt like after going through spring I have a better
understanding of the offense,” Marcotte said. “Now, I just go to the line and
know what I’m doing. I can break down defenses now which just allows me to play
faster and block better.”

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl issued a challenge of sorts during his press conference at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas in late July.

When asked if his receivers need to step up and have a productive
season, he answered, “yes, and that starts with the tight ends.”

His message was loud and clear.

“From the moment I got here I knew the tight end plays a big
role,” Marcotte said. “The coaches talk about utilizing us more in the offense.
We just have to make plays.”

Marcotte is used to that.

At Mt. Carmel High School, he snagged 49 passes for 868 yards and 11 touchdowns. During his junior season, he averaged 35.2 yards per catch. That vaulted him to the No. 55 recruit in the entire state.

But there was also that basketball thing.

Marcotte was a second-team selection and an All-State Special mention in a hoops-crazy state, which borders Indiana.

Just pretend Marcotte was weaving through linebackers and safeties in the video above.

If Wyoming basketball coach Allen Edwards has any grand ideas of calling him, he will be busy.

“I mean, I’m pretty set on playing football,” Marcotte
joked. “I do miss playing basketball though.”

That’s a phone call he won’t fear.