Rock Springs grad Isaac Schoenfeld looking to expand role at UW

May 8—LARAMIE — Isaac Schoenfeld averaged 55.8 rushing yards per game as a senior at Rock Springs in 2021.

Schoenfeld averaged 8.3 yards per rush for the Tigers, totaling 670 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. He added 35 catches for 477 yards and eight touchdown receptions, but the dual-threat wasn't coming out of Rock Springs' backfield.

Schoenfeld was a first team all-state selection at tight end while earning a three-star recruiting grade from 247 Sports. He was the No. 1 recruit out of the state of Wyoming in his class, earning him a scholarship at the University of Wyoming in 2022.

After redshirting during his freshman season, Schoenfeld stepped into a special teams role for the Cowboys last fall. He's hoping to expand that role this season, but he isn't expecting it to come via tight end sweeps like it did at Rock Springs.

"I do kind of miss doing that stuff," Schoenfeld told WyoSports with a laugh last month. "I enjoy blocking now, too, just knowing that, if you can block a guy for somebody else to score, that's also pretty rewarding. But I do definitely miss doing stuff like that.

"We'd just go in the wildcat (formation) and they'd just snap the ball to me, and I'd just take off. I miss that stuff a lot, but at the end of the day, it's about, 'Where do they need me, and what can I do best?' With the bigger body that I have, I feel like I'm almost better at the blocking part of it right now."

Schoenfeld wasn't asked to block much in Rock Springs' offense. That's been his biggest point of emphasis since arriving in Laramie two years ago.

"(In high school), I was more about: Get the ball, get us some yards and get us a first down," Schoenfeld said. "So, I think I've (become more well-rounded) and made it come full-circle by adding the blocking part.

"I did block in high school, but it wasn't very good. Just being able to come here and work with (tight ends and fullbacks coach Shannon) Moore on blocking ... there's always going to be work that needs to be done, but I feel like I've come full-circle in the fact of playing the true tight end position."

Moore is going into his sixth season on UW's staff. On top of his coaching duties, the Nebraska product is also the Cowboys' primary recruiter in the program's home state.

Moore has noticed significant growth from Schoenfeld since watching him play for the Tigers on Friday nights two years ago.

"I think the biggest thing for him is his football knowledge has gotten so much better," Moore said. "I'll never forget, I was very surprised when we started having our offseason meetings after his true freshman fall going into his first spring, I was a little surprised — and I don't know why, but I was — I was surprised with how much he had retained.

"He really has a smart football mind. Now for him, he just has to keep getting better about pad level and just playing the game, but from an assignment standpoint, he was really further along last year than what I was probably really anticipating."

Schoenfeld's progression could be key for UW's tight end room following the graduation of Treyton Welch and Colin O'Brien. The Cowboys return John Michael Gyllenborg following his breakout season, along with senior Nick Miles. Fullback Caleb Driskill — a Thunder Basin graduate — has also been seeing time lined up wide in UW's revamped offense this spring.

"It's going to be very important for me to fulfill the role that the coaches need me to be in," Schoenfeld said. "Obviously, Colin and Treyton are gone, so now I've got to step up my game and step up with my blocking, my route-running and my catching. It's very important for me to fulfill this role they have for me."

The 6-foot-5, 253-pound tight end hauled in five catches for 45 yards in UW's spring game last month, with his only mistake being a lost fumble in the first quarter.

Moore has complete confidence in Schoenfeld's ability to step into a bigger role this fall, and that belief starts with what he saw out of the lengthy tight end during spring ball last month.

"His football IQ is really, really good, and it matters to him," Moore said. "He practices hard. He is — for being 30 pounds heavier than he was in high school — a really, really good athlete. You see him catch a ball out on the perimeter on the run, and he is just a big guy that is tight-turning and getting vertical.

"When he got a taste (of special teams last year), he and I had one of our one-on-one meetings just about his role and his future, and I said, 'Those things are still expected. Now, you have to get yourself a role on the offense, too.' He's putting himself in a really good position to do that."

Schoenfeld turned down an offer from Montana State to pursue his dream of playing for his home state. Going into his third season in Laramie, his confidence has never been higher.

"I feel a lot more confident coming into this year, just because I know I'll have a bigger role in the offense," Schoenfeld said. "Also, just knowing how special teams has gone for me so far, I know I'll have those roles on special teams like I did last year.

"I've just been more confident, and personally, I just think the offense is a lot easier to learn than it was last year for me. I've been in this system, and I've had the experience, so I just feel confident coming into this year."

Schoenfeld hasn't had to look far for someone to look up to. Learning from Welch — who signed with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent earlier this month — for the past two seasons has been a big boost for the tight end as he enters his redshirt sophomore season.

"Treyton has been the biggest role model for me," Schoenfeld said. "As I was coming through as a freshman, I always looked up to him, and I watched to see what he was doing and how he was doing it.

"He's a very disciplined guy, so just being able to watch him and see how he did things really helped me figure out the offense and how to do everything and what they kind of expect out of you here."

Gyllenborg has earned high praise from first-year head coach Jay Sawvel this spring, and Schoenfeld has bought into the hype. He expects Gyllenborg to be another big role model for him as he makes the transition to an upperclassmen down the road.

"Watching (Gyllenborg), it's like watching how I kind of hope to have my career here progress," Schoenfeld said. "... I want to be the guy, like him, who kind of leads everybody else.

"... I kind of look at it like that. I want to be what (Gyllenborg) is once I'm the old guy in the room."

Recruiting the state of Wyoming is one of the most rewarding parts of Moore's job at UW. Schoenfeld is just another example of the fire a student-athlete brings when representing their home state.

"I love it," Moore said with a smile. "Being an old high school coach, and with my wife being a Wyoming girl, and now having the chance to be a Wyoming recruiter ... just talking about how much I love this place and I love this state and then being able to give a kid the opportunity to live his dream of wearing the brown and gold, I think that's always exciting for those guys.

"When you get a chance to have a conversation with him and his mom and dad and say, 'Hey, you're in, here's a scholarship or here's a preferred walk-on,' the joy on their face is unbelievable. It's unbelievable."

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Alex Taylor is the assistant editor for WyoSports and covers University of Wyoming athletics. He can be reached at Follow him on X at @alex_m_taylor22.