After a workout Tuesday, Justis Borton got a call that University of Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl wanted to talk to him in his office.
“I’m either going to get cut or put on scholarship. That’s what goes through your head,” Borton said.
The news was good as Bohl told the Wheatland product he was being put on scholarship effective immediately.
Borton, a junior defensive tackle, is the 29th walk-on put on scholarship by the Cowboys since Bohl became coach prior to the 2014 season, and the second this year. The other was junior fullback Skyler Miller of Torrington.
Borton enters his third season with UW, and played in three games over the past two years.
“It means the world to me,” Borton said during an interview with WyoSports Wednesday. “Getting on scholarship was something I tried to put out of my head. If you spend too much time thinking about it, it consumes you. I just tried to put my nose to the grindstone and work.
“What it shows me and what is exciting to me is that hard work pays off and gets recognized at Wyoming. There are a lot of walk-ons that have been put on scholarship, and that’s a testament to the coaching staff that they appreciate and value hard work.”
Borton hasn’t recorded a tackle in his UW career, although he said back in the spring that he got in on one in the Cowboys’ regular-season finale at New Mexico last season.
Borton was recruited as a defensive lineman, but in his first spring he was moved to the offensive line out of need. He was back at defensive line during fall camp, and has stayed there ever since. Most of Borton’s career to this point has been spent on the scout team.
However, the stat sheets and game logs don’t measure Borton’s importance to the Cowboys.
“He’s so selfless. He’s a blessing,” UW interior defensive line coach Pete Kaligis said. “The way Justis attacks every day is to be the best, and that’s why he’s a leader. He may not get on the field, and he knows that, but he will do anything for this team.
“The most important thing to him is we win. The team is more important than playing time. I can’t say enough about him. I am blessed to coach all of these guys, but I love that kid.”
Borton said his goal moving forward is to “still attack everything with a walk-on mentality. Approach each day with something to prove. I’ve checked a goal off, and it is on to the next goal.”
What is that next goal?
“Continue doing what I can to make this the best football team possible,” Borton said. “I try to approach every day with a fire and passion, and try to help other guys come along with me.”