LARAMIE -- What is it like to cover John Michael Gyllenborg?

"Oh, my gosh," Wyoming free safety Wyett Ekeler emphatically stated with a grin and a slight shake of the head, "It's amazing but terrible at the same time. This man moves like a receiver and he's 250 pounds. You almost have to treat him like a receiver and, if you don't respect him, he's going to bite you in the butt."

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The Cowboys' third-year tight end is certainly drawing plenty of attention after hauling in 23 balls for 360 yards and three touchdowns last fall.



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The Kansas product showed off his football IQ, finding the soft spot in the Texas Tech secondary before snagging a game-tying 11-yard strike from Andrew Peasley in double overtime. He knew the blitz was coming on that crucial fourth-down snap. He was right where his quarterback needed him to be.

He once again weaved his way through Boise State's zone defense in a Week-7 matchup inside Albertsons Stadium. Gyllenborg was afforded a free release off the line of scrimmage and coasted toward the pylon before snatching a perfectly-placed 19-yard throw in the end zone.

Hawaii got the full experience.

Gyllenborg only caught three passes in Wyoming's home finale, but he turned that modest number into a career-best 128 yards receiving, including an 89-yard jaunt into the Tetons in the first quarter.

Again he found the opening on the backend. Again he beat a helpless linebacker to the spot. Again he outraced everyone.

"Every day," strong safety Isaac White said when asked when he goes one-on-one in practice with the 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior. "It's a battle. He's probably the fastest tight end I've ever had to cover."

That's saying a lot.

Wyoming faced off last season against All-American Ja'Tavion Sanders, who was a fourth-round selection of the Carolina Panthers. No tight end in University of Texas history has as many grabs -- 99 -- as Sanders.

Not a single one of those came against the Cowboys.

Sanders was a semifinalist in the Mackey Award voting. That honor goes to the top pass-catching tight end in the country. Colorado State's Trey McBride, another player both Ekeler and White have shadowed, did claim that hardware in 2021.

Is Gyllenborg even in that conversation?

"I think he's better," Ekeler said of his teammate. "I'm not going to lie, I could see him, like, if we use him the way we need to, he could be the best in the nation, in my opinion ... I thought he was the best tight end we saw all season."

Aside from Sanders, that group also included CSU's Dallin Holker, Texas Tech's Mason Tharp, Fresno State's Tre Watson and UNLV's Kaleo Ballungay, among others.

"He's probably the same size, but a lot faster," White said when it comes to the comparison between Gyllenborg and McBride. "I've never covered a tight end as fast as him. It's been a challenge but it's been a lot of fun."



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University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit:

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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