Wyoming’s Jordan Bertagnole Announces He Will Return in 2024
LARAMIE -- One more year.
Jordan Bertagnole, Wyoming's senior defensive tackle, posted a 45-second video on social media Friday afternoon announcing he will be suiting up in Laramie for a sixth season.
Bertagnole is the third player to exercise a super senior season, joining linebacker Shae Suiaunoa and wide receiver Alex Brown. All three were introduced during the team's annual senior-day festivities Nov. 18 before the Cowboys cruised past visiting Hawaii, 42-9.
Wyoming edge rusher Keelan Cox will also return to the program after briefly entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. Evan Eller, a transfer from the Virginia Military Institute, will also join the team this spring. He is projected to play linebacker.
Named a Preseason All-Mountain West selection, Bertagnole started all 13 games in 2023. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Casper product racked up 58 total tackles last fall to go along with two quarterback sacks, a forced fumble and a pair of pass breakups.
Bertagnole's story is a familiar one. A local prospect with little attention out of Natrona County High School, Craig Bohl offered the former wide receiver a preferred walk-on opportunity. Bertagnole came to Laramie as a 230-pound defensive end. Soon, injuries would force him into the interior.
That move nearly broke his spirit.
"I don't know if I can do this," he admitted back in December while reminiscing about his first weeks on campus. "I just remember I talked to my dad and I was just crying. This sucks."
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Bertagnole redshirted during the 2019 season. He was thrust into the spotlight the following October inside an empty Mackay Stadium in Reno.
In his Wyoming debut, Bertagnole tallied a pair of tackles, including a sack and a fumble recovery in a 37-34 overtime loss to Nevada. COVID-19, along with contact tracing, gave him his opportunity. He would never relinquish that, racking up 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks during that six-game season.
Bertagnole now has 177 tackles to his credit. He's terrorized signal callers to the tune of 10 sacks, including a career-high five in 2022. He's also forced four fumbles.
He often thinks about that phone call with his father.
"I remember my dad kind of reminded me I've never been a quitter," Bertagnole said. "I've always put my best foot forward and just always done my best. He just told me to go after it and just do what I was supposed to do: learn the playbook, study, put in the extra hours. So, I did that."
Now a married man and soon expecting his first child, Bertagnole was expected to test the NFL waters this offseason. Those plans obviously changed.
"He's a really good football player who just works his butt off," new head coach Jay Sawvel said in December. "He's just such a great kid. To call him a kid is not even really a service to him, right? He got married this summer. This is a man. You know, he's a man. He's a man of how he handles his business, he's a man how he handles everything. You have such a great respect for him, but then I have a great admiration and appreciation for him that he's that much of a man at this young of an age. I think the kid is awesome.
"I love him."
Wyoming's defense will be without the services of linebacker Easton Gibbs and Bertagnole's interior running mate, Cole Godbout, in 2024. Cornerback Jakorey Hawkins exhausted his eligibility and nickel corner Buck Coors announced his retirement from the sport in early January.
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- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players