LARAMIE -- The Cowboys might have found themselves a fullback.

And they only had to go about 250 miles northeast of Laramie to find him.

Gillette's Caleb Driskill has been making an early impression on first-year offensive coordinator Tim Polasek just seven practices into spring camp. For a position that just lost veterans like Jeff Burroughs, Skyler Miller and Jahmari Moore, Polasek seems awfully confident in the 6-foot-2, 235-pound freshman.

"He's one of the top guys that come to mind, like not surprises (me) but he just improves fast," he said of Driskill. "You know, the way we double-rep, he's having to do some things that he normally won't do for us, which is really helped his football acumen, his football knowledge, his football IQ. He can handle a lot mentally."

Driskill redshirted last fall and didn't play in any of the Cowboys' six games during a COVID-19-shortened season.

 

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Miller, Burroughs and Moore could have all returned to play football this fall thanks to an NCAA ruling that allowed all players, even seniors, an additional season of eligibility. It's not clear why Burroughs and Moore didn't come back to Laramie, but Miller said he was ready to move on and already had a pair of degrees.

Those departures leave a big unknown in the Cowboys' backfield. Parker Christensen played in every game a year ago and UW head coach Craig Bohl said he could serve in a hybrid role this season between the fullback and tight end spots. Bohl said the Sheridan native put on roughly 10 pounds of lean muscle mass in the winter and is one of the faster players on the roster.

"Between those two guys -- we always talked about some Wyoming players -- and typically fullbacks are guys that aren't just tough guys, they are athletic. So we think between Parker and Caleb, we're going to be well fortified at that spot."

Driskill, like Parker, was a first-team All-State player in high school. Driskill was named the Super 25 Defensive Player of the Year in Wyoming in 2019, registering a state-best 13.2 tackles per outing. That equaled a whopping 158 tackles.

His job isn't to stop guys anymore, but to bust open holes for one of the top rushing attacks in the country, led by Xazavian Valladay and Trey Smith out of the Wyoming backfield.

Polasek thinks Driskill has the right mentality for the position.

"He's a tough kid. You know, I mean tough," he said. "He's a cowboy, a tough guy. I think that kid's going to be able to carve out a role for us. And I see it being a part of what we do, obviously.

"We're going to be a team that wants to run the football, and I think if you can run the football with a fullback, that really can send a message. It can help in the four-minute drill late in games, too."

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