Jaylen Warren ‘quite a bit’ better than Mike Gundy realized
If you’ve been following college football for a while, you know the pitfalls that come with reading too much spring practice coverage, or at least reading too much.
Every year there’s a newcomer or an unrecognized save that makes an OBJ capture in the spring game, or at least is responsible for some buzz on the training ground. Count running back Jaylen Warren as the latter.
But few of those springtime stars turn into productive playmakers the following fall, let alone as quickly as Warren did. Earlier this week, Mike Gundy was asked if his main forward, who has streaked back-to-back 100-yard games, was even better than he thought when they brought him in.
“A little,” Gundy said. “It’s hard to say there are times when we’re evaluating high school players, transfer players, we miss it, right? The NFL spends millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars, and it misses.
“So obviously we liked him from what we saw on tape or we wouldn’t have brought him here.”
Warren wasn’t exactly a rookie when he started turning heads in the spring, and coaches knew at least two things about him when they made an offer: he had experience and he had been. productive.
After a high school career that included nearly 7,000 (!!) rushing yards and a Utah one-season record with 3,099 yards, Warren has remained in the state. He followed the junior college route to Snow College, winning the 2018 NJCAA National Offensive Player of the Year and NJCAA U.S. First Team honors. He then had a productive season on the road at Utah State before sporting a red blouse last year. At both stops he made a name for himself with his ability to go wild for a big, exciting game.
Cowboy coaches knew they would have some big cleats to fill with Chuba Hubbard’s departure to the NFL. And despite a handful of internal plugs with the potential to do so, they weren’t sure if they had that foolproof back they could count on. Warren was the most experienced and probably had the highest floor of them in this regard.
What they might not have predicted was how much there must be a cap.
“It wouldn’t have been fair to bring him in for a year if we didn’t think he could get a massive number of snaps,” Gundy said. “So we were right. When he showed up and started training with Rob Glass, he made more progress in terms of developing physical strength and speed in three to four months than any player I have. have seen. And that’s because of the training he had with Rob Glass.
“Nothing against where he came from, nothing against their training, I just saw where he started and where he is now, and he’s made huge strides with his speed and strength, being here with Coach Glass. “
Those strides in the weight room translated into strides on the grass. With injuries to other potential producers like LD Brown and Dez Jackson, Warren has played the role of RB1 in his last two starts, nearly setting the Cowboys up for a win at Boise. In his last two outings, Warren has totaled 341 yards and two scores averaging nearly six yards per attempt.
Once again, he’s made a name for himself with big game races, as well as some jaw-dropping Barry-style displays. But more importantly for OSU, he’s been that stable line the Cowboys can count on.