LARAMIE – Both are young, big, from the Midwest, have a basketball background and are expected to be major contributors for the University of Wyoming football team this season.
Known as the "Twin Towers" among their teammates and coaches, redshirt sophomore Nate Weinman and redshirt freshman Jackson Marcotte are tight ends who are 6-foot-7. Weinman, from Creston, Ohio, is 270 pounds. Marcotte, at around 260, is from Mt. Carmel, Illinois.
Weinman played in nine games last season, but didn't catch a pass. Marcotte played briefly in UW's final game of 2018, but rules in college football allowed him to redshirt.
Sixth-year UW coach Craig Bohl said he expects both to be – no pun intended – a big part of the Cowboys' offense in terms of blocking and being pass-catchers this season.
"They give us a lot of flexibility," Bohl said. "They're good blockers and good receivers."
When asked if he's ever had two tight ends that big in nearly 40 years of coaching, Bohl quickly answered "no."
There is a buzz around the program about Weinman and Marcotte, even though they are unproven commodities. Their new position coach likes their approach to the game.
"They've really done a good job of getting in their playbooks, watching film and asking questions," said Shannon Moore, who also coaches UW's fullbacks. "They've done a good job of being able to take stuff from the meeting room out on the practice field. They're good, football-savvy athletes."
The leader of UW's tight end group, senior Josh Harshman of Casper, is the "runt" at 6-3, 240. Harshman suffered a season-ending knee injury during the third game last season, but is participating at fall camp. Bohl has been pleased with Harshman's progress so far.
But most of the talk about the tight ends is with Weinman and Marcotte.
Tight ends' top priority in UW's pro-style offense is to block, and that won't change this season. Moore said there's a challenge for both in that aspect due to their size.
"Keeping their pad level down is a big focal point," he said. "We work on that every day. If they get underneath guys and keep their hips moving, they have a chance to move anybody we play."
However, Weinman and Marcotte's size should afford the Cowboys to use them more in the passing game and create mismatches against smaller defenders.
"For as big as they are, they have really good ball skills," Moore said. "They can go up and catch contested balls. They both can run pretty good."
Those abilities could be traced back to both playing basketball in high school. Big players who are athletic and can move their feet often attract college football coaches, even if they're seeing it on the basketball court.
Marcotte went somewhat under the college football recruiting radar because he missed his senior season due to a torn ACL.
Harshman enters his fifth year at UW and has an obvious edge over Weinman and Marcotte in terms of experience and know-how. But the thought of seeing Weinman or Marcotte on the field – and perhaps both at the same time – is intriguing.
However, both are not looking that far ahead.
"I just try to play football. I'm not about all the hype," Weinman said. "I'm just trying to get better every day. Whatever happens, happens."
Added Marcotte: "I wake every morning to come here and prepare to win games. If I'm a big part of it, great. Whatever is best for the team."
But when asked of the prospect of both being on the field at the same time this season, Marcotte said: "There will be some big smiles if we're out there together."
UW worked out in shoulder pads and shorts Friday at the practice fields south of War Memorial Stadium.
Bohl said the offensive line did well in a pass-pressure drill. He also said redshirt freshman starting quarterback Sean Chambers did a "better job of delivering the ball where he needs to."
When asked how Chambers has done so far in camp, Bohl said: "He is a little bit behind of where we want him to be. He started out fairly well. There's more things coming at him, and this is all about the progression of the quarterback. I'm encouraged, but he is not as far along as what we want."
Bohl had praise for a pair of true freshman wide receivers in 6-4 Alex Brown and 6-3 Isaiah Neyor – both from Texas. Bohl also said true freshman tight end Treyton Welch continues to have a good camp.
At running back, Bohl said sophomore Xazavian Valladay has the edge over senior graduate transfer Trey Smith from Louisville. Bohl added Smith has done some good things, but is still learning the offense.
Junior defensive tackle Ravontae Holt didn't practice Friday due to a sore knee. Bohl said Holt will have an MRI. Bohl has praised the play of Holt numerous times during camp.
Bohl said junior free safety Braden Smith didn't finish Friday's practice because of a hamstring strain. Smith is competing for the starting job with redshirt freshmen Rome Weber and Cameron Murray.
True freshman defensive tackle Alonzo Hall hasn't practiced due to a fractured foot suffered before camp started. Bohl said it will be "several weeks" before he returns.
Robert Gagliardi is the WyoSports senior editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @rpgagliardi.