Jayden Clemons ‘kept on boxing’ to earn back-up QB role
LARAMIE -- The only thing repeated more on social media by fans last weekend than "When does basketball season start?" were those openly wondering why Evan Svoboda wasn't listed as Wyoming's back-up quarterback.
There's a perfectly good explanation for that -- Jayden Clemons won the job.
"You know what, Jayden, I will tell you, he rose up," UW head coach Craig Bohl said during his weekly press conference Monday afternoon in Laramie. "I mean, he kept fighting, and we were watching his productivity. You said, 'OK, is it going to be Evan? Is it going to be Hank (Gibbs), and Jayden kept on boxing. It was fairly close."
Asked in fall camp how any QB not named Andrew Peasley or Svoboda were performing, Bohl simply -- and sarcastically -- said "They're all pretty good. We're going to keep probably everything pretty tight-lipped and close to the vest. Hope you can understand."
Peasley, of course, earned the opening-day assignment at Illinois. The Utah State transfer completed just 5-of-20 throws for 30 yards and tossed an interception in the Cowboys 38-6 loss to the Fighting Illini last Saturday in Champaign.
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With the score growing more lopsided midway through the fourth quarter, did Bohl ever think about inserting Clemons into the lineup?
"I thought about it just briefly, but there were so many complexities," he said. "I didn't think bringing Jayden in was going to have an impact on our ability to get open. I mean, you would have had to be, you know, Aaron Rodgers to throw a couple of those passes, and we just didn't think Jayden was going to have that much of an impact."
So, who is this Clemons guy anyway?
The California native was a two-time all-region selection at Skyridge High School in Lehi, Utah. Clemons earned First-Team honors as a senior after throwing for 2,430 yards and 26 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 208-pound signal caller also rushed for 982 yards that year and found the end zone 11 more times. Twice he led his team to the 5A State Championship game before walking on at the University of Utah.
Kyle Whittingham and Co. moved Clemons to the secondary in Salt Lake City. He wanted to be under center.
After all, he did amass nearly 5,000 passing yards during his prep career to go along with 57 touchdowns. It could've been more, too. Most games, Clemons was on the bench for nearly the entire second half.
Wyoming gave him that opportunity.
"They were the first and only Division-I program to give me an offer," he said of UW during an interview last October. "I just took it. It's not far from home and they play good football and have a great staff. It was not a bad option."
Clemons, who was put on full scholarship before the season opener, will once again back up Peasley this Saturday when Tulsa pays a visit to War Memorial Stadium. He made things interesting in camp with his play. More importantly, he earned the trust of his coaches.
"The numbers begin to separate and decision making began to separate," Bohl said of why Peasley earned the nod. "Andrew is going to be the starter this week. We're going to hone his skills, but we have a good amount of confidence in Jayden."