Jordan Stanton’s jersey number is 1.
He also is No. 1 in another aspect for the University of Wyoming football team this spring — tackles.
In UW’s three spring scrimmages Stanton has a team-best 21 tackles as a middle linebacker, including 11 in UW’s last scrimmage Wednesday. However, linebackers coach Robin Ross said when he looked at the film, he had Stanton with 13.
Stanton, a junior-college transfer from Los Angeles Pierce College, has worked mostly with the No. 2 defense this spring, but recently has had some time with the No. 1 defense. He is competing with senior Devyn Harris for the starting job.
“Everybody out here is trying to show if they can compete,” Stanton said. “It is a process. The guys that can play will definitely stand out.”
It appears Stanton can play. He gives UW a bigger body in the middle at 246 pounds.
Stanton said his team in junior college ran a 3-4 defense, and that UW’s scheme with a buck position (a combination of a defensive and outside linebacker) makes playing in the middle a little different.
“He’s really starting to pick it up now,” Ross said. “There is a lot to learn, and he and Devyn are giving us great competition. Not only did I have Jordan with 13 tackles in our last scrimmage, I had Devyn with 14. That’s the kind of production you want to see out of our middle linebackers.
“Jordan’s biggest thing is to work on his consistency and learning all aspects of the defense.”
Fifth-year coach Dave Christensen said there is another area Stanton needs to improve.
“He needs to get in better shape for this altitude, but he is getting in better shape every day,” he said. “He is making good progress.”
When UW released its first depth chart of the spring last week, Stanton was listed as the backup behind Harris, who unofficially has 16 tackles in three scrimmages.
However, Christensen said that depth chart means nothing now, especially on defense. He wants to use spring to find out which guys can play, and what positions they are best suited to play. Fall camp in August will determine who starts and sees playing time.
UW had five senior linebackers last season. Last week, the Cowboys moved sophomore middle linebacker Siaosi Hala’api’api, the team’s top returning tackler among linebackers with 57, to the buck position.
Ross and defensive coordinator Chris Tormey have looked at a lot of different players at all three linebacker spots this spring. But it appears the best fit for Stanton is in the middle.
“We want him to be the best player (at middle linebacker),” Christensen said. “If there is another spot he can play, we will start teaching him that.”
According to Rivals.com, UW has offered Stanton’s younger brother, Joshua, a scholarship.
Joshua Stanton is a 6-foot-3, 235 pounds defensive end/outside linebacker at Valencia High in Valencia, Calif., and will graduate in 2014.
“He’s starting to blow up right now. I think he is going to get an offer from San Diego State soon. Colorado is supposed to offer him. He was talking to Iowa State and Georgia a little bit.
“He is definitely a big-time player,” said Jordan about his brother. “I set the standard high for him.”
The two brothers have never played together on the same field.
“I know my mom and dad would like to see that happen,” Jordan added. “We would dominate together and I would show him the ropes. After a while, he might show me the ropes. He’s going to be a dominant player. To play with him on the same field would definitely be a blessing.”
UW is Joshua’s first scholarship offer, but he also is being recruited by Arizona State, Colorado, Minnesota, San Diego State and Utah State. Jordan also said his brother has talked to Georgia and Iowa State.
UW practices at 8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week. The spring game is at 2 p.m. April 27.