SHERIDAN — A couple weeks ago, University of Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl wanted to speak with wide receiver Dontae Crow privately. At first, Crow — a former Sheridan High School standout — didn’t want any part of the ensuing conversation with the head honcho.
“I was pretty nervous,” Crow said. “I thought I was in trouble for something. I was sitting there with Avante’ Cox talking and I said, ‘Oh man, I’m in trouble. I don’t what I did wrong, but it can’t be good.’”
Bohl issued no punishment, and no yelling took place. Rather, congratulatory remarks and affirmation of Crow’s hard work were presented. Crow is now a scholarship athlete for the Cowboys, realizing a dream he’s had for as long as he can remember.
“It has always been a goal,” Crow said. “I was born in Laramie, so when I was growing up, we’d always go to games. I always wanted to be a Cowboy, and actually making it here and getting put on scholarship topped everything off and helped me reach my goals.”
Crow enjoyed a decorated career as a Bronc. As a senior, he led the team in receiving with 860 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also led the state in kickoff return yardage with 362.
Crow played a pivotal role in the Broncs, winning their first of three straight state titles in 2015. He reeled in 10 catches for 175 yards with two touchdowns while adding 133 return yards in Sheridan’s 38-31 victory over Gillette.
“In the state championship game, he decided nobody could cover him,” Sheridan then-assistant coach Jeff Mowry said. “He was returning kicks, returning punts. We put him on an isolated side, and he had a huge game.
“He finally learned that he had the ability to do that, and then you see it now carrying it over wearing the brown and gold,” Mowry added. “I couldn’t be more proud of him. He went down there and walked on and earned a scholarship, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s hard to do that, and I’m very proud of what he’s done down there.”
Crow walked-on at UW in 2016 and utilized a redshirt year to give him time to acclimate to Division I football.
He saw a sliver of playing time last season in a couple lopsided wins over New Mexico and Central Michigan. Crow caught one pass for 5 yards against the Lobos, and returned one punt for 8 yards against the Chippewas.
The redshirt sophomore has built up his frame and now looks the part during the Pokes’ pregame warm-ups. On a field featuring three-star high school athletes, first-team All-Mountain West Conference selections and a couple All-Americans, Crow holds his own and blends in.
Sheridan currently boasts two players on scholarship for the Cowboys with a third soon on the way. Freshman offensive lineman Blayne Baker, much like Crow, is taking advantage of a redshirt year to get up to speed with college football. Running back Parker Christensen became the first player to verbally commit to UW’s 2019 class, as his current focus revolves around helping Sheridan try to win a fourth straight state title.
“Anytime we get a guy to go on to the next level to play some ball, it’s exciting for our kids,” Mowry said. “Every little guy has dreams of playing college and pro football, and to actually see it come into reality is really neat. I can’t compliment the Wyoming staff enough for looking in state. … It’s exciting to be able to look at our home university and see some of our local players there.”
The scholarship hasn’t made Crow complacent in any sense. He wants to continue to improve on the field while making a larger impact vocally as a leader.
But above all, Crow just wants to show that his recent meeting with Bohl lit a fire inside him that won’t soon burn out.
“Proving that I deserve the scholarship is a goal of mine,” Crow said. “I just want to keep making plays whenever I can and continue to keep working hard.”