Aiken earns scholarship with Pokes

2010-08-17T00:00:00Z Aiken earns scholarship with PokesBy ERIC SCHMOLDT - Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Jonathan Aiken's Wyoming career has spanned less than two weeks.

The experience has already afforded him one of the greatest moments in his life.

In that time, Aiken has gone from joining the squad as a walk-on transfer to receiving a scholarship and earning playing time with the top group of wide receivers.

"That's the best news I've had in a couple years," Aiken said after UW's practice on Monday morning. "I had a scholarship offer my freshman year, but was academically ineligible. [UW defensive line coach] Jerry Montgomery kept in contact with me … and told me to come and walk on.

"From working hard, I earned a scholarship."

Nobody has risen up the depth chart faster or more noticeably during fall camp thus far, but Aiken has taken advantage of an open competition that needed someone to step up because of its depletions thus far.

David Tooley left the team for personal reasons, Turmour Battle was shown the door for violating team rules and DeJay Lester -- one of two transfers from Snow College expected to make a quick impact -- has been sidelined with the effects of a concussion.

"He had some other opportunities, but liked it here so he came, and by his performance we rewarded him a scholarship," UW coach Dave Christensen said. "He's doing some good things and making some plays. He has all throughout practice."

Two scholarships opened up when junior college transfer Austin Daniels and incoming freshman Evan Williams didn't qualify academically.

Wide receiver Robert Herron was awarded one of the open scholarships earlier in camp.

But it is Aiken, a 6-foot-3, 208-pound target who said he got news that he'd been put on scholarship on Friday, who seems to be on the faster track.

"Junior college, I think that was a good decision for me," said Aiken, who transferred from Elsworth Community College in Iowa. "I learned a lot of stuff like route-running and blocking and being physical at that level. When I got out here, there's a little bit of new stuff that I have to catch up on, but I'm getting it [quickly]."

The Cowboys will find out how much Aiken and their offense has progressed in the past few days.

The unit was on the losing end of the Pokes' first fall scrimmage last week and spent the weekend cleaning things up.

"We just gotta put up some points," Aiken said. "The defense did us dirty last time, so we're coming out [today] at full speed."

Aiken has already been full speed ahead for the past two weeks.

SIMILAR SCRIMMAGE: UW coach Dave Christensen said today's 8:45 a.m. scrimmage will have a similar feel to the first one that occurred on Friday.

The No. 1 offense will square off against the No. 2 defense, and vice versa, for a similar amount of plays.

"Since the last scrimmage we've gotten better each day and we've practiced better each day," Christensen said. "Hopefully our execution is better with the one offense. It's gotta get better every scrimmage."

There will be just two slight changes during today's scrimmage. The top offense and defense will square off for 10 plays late in the session. In addition, UW will work on its two-minute drill.

BUMPS AND BRUISES: The Cowboys continue to remain relatively healthy heading into the scrimmage.

Backup quarterback Sam Stratton continues to be limited by a hamstring injury but is day-to-day. Cornerbacks Tashaun Gipson and Marqueston Huff appeared to get dinged up on Monday, but both returned to the field to play through the pain.

Contact sports reporter Eric Schmoldt at eric.schmoldt@trib.com. Check out his blog at tribtown.trib.com/ESchmoldt/blog

COWBOYS TRACKER

MONDAY: Wyoming's fall camp continued with one morning practice in shells.

JOHNNY JUMP-UP: Junior college transfer Jonathan Aiken has been awarded a scholarship after an impressive first two weeks of camp.

HE SAID IT: "That's the best news I've had in a couple years." -- Aiken.

TODAY: UW will hold its second fall scrimmage with practice beginning at 8:45 a.m. at War Memorial Stadium.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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