If you would have asked Treyton Welch at this time last year if he wanted to play tight end, the answer would have been no.
However, the Buffalo, Minnesota, product changed his mind when the University of Wyoming started recruiting him.
“I know (sixth-year UW coach Craig Bohl) knows what’s best,” Welch said. “He has been around the game a long time. He knows body types, and knows what’s best for people.
“It hit me then that maybe what’s best for me and the team is playing tight end, and that maybe playing tight end would ultimately help me get to the next level.”
Welch is 6-foot-3, and said he is now 220 pounds after weighing in at 212 when he reported to UW this summer. Welch played wide receiver in high school, and, as a senior, led the state with 1,032 receiving yards and was second with 13 touchdowns.
However, UW recruited him as a tight end, and the first time he played there was three weeks ago, when the Cowboys started fall camp.
Welch has been a quick study at his new position, and Bohl said he will play this season.
“He is not at the top among our tight ends, but he will play,” Bohl said.
UW returns senior Josh Harshman of Casper, who missed all but three games last season with a knee injury. The Cowboys also are high on what they call their “twin towers,” sophomore Nate Weinman (6-7, 267) and redshirt freshman Jackson Marcotte (6-7, 250).
Add Welch to that list.
“He brings a presence in the pass game with his athleticism on the perimeter,” first-year UW tight ends and fullbacks coach Shannon Moore said. “With his receiver background, you can see he’s good at running routes and things like that. That is a good wrinkle for us.
“The transition of putting his hand in the ground has been different, but he has not backed down from that challenge at all. If you focus on one thing for him to get better at, he works hard at it and will do it 100 mph. I’ve been pleased with how he’s taken to the run game and how he’s improved.”
Welch is pleased with his progress, but definitely not satisfied.
“There is always room for improvement, and I’m hard on myself,” he said. “If I go out there and only get one hand on the ball and don’t catch it, it is on me. If I can touch it, I can catch it.”
Like any freshman, Welch is getting used to the speed of the college game, and the bigger and more advanced playbook.
What Welch’s role will be this season remains to be seen, but Moore is confident – at the very least – he’ll know what to do when his number is called.
“If you ask him what is job is, he will know it, but he hasn’t done it in a college game,” Moore said. “We need to put him in the best positions for him to have success.”
Senior graduate transfer running back Trey Smith didn’t practice Thursday. He suffered a concussion during last Saturday’s scrimmage, and hasn’t practiced since.
Bohl said Smith is “getting real close” to returning, but added it is up to the doctors.
UW’s top two running backs as of now are junior Xazavian Valladay and true freshman Titus Swen. UW is looking at a couple of players to fill the role of the No. 3 back right now, including true freshman Alphonzo Andrews Jr. and redshirt freshman walk-on Brett Brenton of Casper
UW worked out in full pads Thursday in War Memorial Stadium.
Bohl said senior kicker Cooper Rothe made a 52-yard field goal “with a bunch of NFL scouts around, so I think he made some hay.”
Bohl had some kind words for junior Logan Harris of Torrington, who is the starter at right guard.
“Logan has probably improved more than anybody else,” he said. “It is not so much his physical strength, it is his balance and footwork. I don’t know if he took ballroom dancing classes to be on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ but he is moving around really well.”
Bohl said team captains will be named Saturday – the final practice of fall camp.
“I told our guys that nice guys are a dime a dozen, but a leader is priceless,” Bohl said. “The teams we’ve had that have been good here, most of the time have not been separated by physical talent, it has been leadership within our team, team unity or injuries.
“Selecting those captains is going to be important.”
Senior middle linebacker Logan Wilson of Casper was a team captain as a sophomore and junior. If he is a captain this season, he will be only the second player in the modern era of UW football to be a three-time team captain. The first was safety Marcus Epps (2016-18), who is playing for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
Sophomore walk-on linebacker Brennan Kutterer of Tongue River rejoined the team this week.
“He is on a ranch, he needed to make some money for his tuition, he made that money, so he is back here,” Bohl said. “That’s Wyoming football. There’s nothing better.”
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I dang sure can guarantee that we’re going to play well,” Bohl about the opener against Missouri a week from Saturday.