LARAMIE -- Trey McBride checks all the boxes.

He's tough.

He's smart.

He's a competitor.

That's why he was such a high-value target in recruiting for Craig Bohl and his staff back in 2017. Wyoming's head coach isn't surprised that the Fort Morgan, Colo., product is lauded as arguably the best tight end in the nation. He saw something special early on in the 6-foot-4, 260-pound former three-sport star.

"We recruited him hard," Bohl said during his weekly press conference. "... I acknowledged Trey last year. I talked to him right before the game and told him what kind of great player he was."

He is.

The stats bear that out.

Though eight games, McBride has rolled up 740 receiving yards on 65 catches. That's 45 more grabs and 467 more yards than his next closest teammate, Dante Wright. The junior is a bully in the Rams' run game and a notorious trash talker.

CSU's captain talks the talk and walks the walk.

"There's no doubt he's the best at that," Wyoming's junior linebacker Chad Muma joked in July at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas. "He's always got something to say."

 

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"Yes" is what McBride said to then-CSU defensive coordinator, Marty English. He signed on the dotted line with the Rams for a number of reasons, one being his older brother, Toby McBride, was already on the roster.

By the way, English is now the Cowboys' defensive ends coach.

Monday, McBride was named one of eight semifinalists for the John Mackay Award, an honor given to the top tight end in the country. He's also been featured on the Biletnikoff, Lombardi and Senior Bowl Watch Lists.

That will happen when you average more than eight catches and 93 yards per outing.

And wouldn't you know it, McBride has saved some of his best performances for the annual Border War against Wyoming. Last November, he hauled in five passes for 90 yards and a career-high two touchdowns in a 34-24 victory over the Cowboys in Fort Collins. The previous season in frosty Laramie, he snagged six balls for 78 yards.

"I think he's great," CSU head coach Steve Addazio said. "You know, it doesn't matter to me what (Mackay voters) think, I mean, I know what he is -- he's the best in college football. I mean, I already know that.

"... Now, this guy is a unique character. I'm sure there are very good tight ends -- I know there are -- but based on what I've seen, in my experience, he'd be the best tight in the country."

McBride said he did nearly call Laramie home. In the end, however, the draw to stay close to home and play with his brother was just too good to pass up.

"You know, I really did like Wyoming," McBride said at MW Media Days. "Coach Bohl and his staff, they do a really good job. He actually reminds me a lot of coach Addazio. They kind of have the same traits. I did look at Wyoming. I went on visits. They had an unbelievable facility they just built, but ultimately it worked to where I could stay in state and play for my home state."

This Saturday will most likely be the last time Wyoming has to face McBride. Most think he will be playing on Sundays as soon as next fall.

That also wouldn't surprise Bohl.

"I thought he could be a guy that would play in the NFL last year," he said. "I know he's playing at a really high level and he's getting a lot of looks."

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