Tevis Bartlett will make you feel lazy. Aside from being the starting quarterback – oh, and by the way, a heck of a safety – the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder out of Cheyenne (Wy.) East is a 4.0-GPA student (he’s never gotten anything less than an A in high school) and is one of the top three wrestlers in the country.
Late last week, California offered Bartlett as an athlete, and, a source said, the Bears want him anywhere they can get him.
“It was kind of crazy,” said Bartlett. “At the beginning of last week, coach [Sonny] Dykes and a couple of the other coaches followed me on Twitter, and then opened up the lines of communication. We messaged back and forth, and they said, ‘We can’t do anything until we get a transcript,’ and I sent that off. The next thing you know, they said, ‘We’re going to talk to your head coach,’ and they did a little research and they called our head coach who had me call them, and I called them last week and they said, ‘As far as recruiting goes, you’ve got an offer from Cal now, too.’”
Cal was not Bartlett’s first Pac-12 offer. Both Oregon and Colorado have gone on him already.
“I don’t know a lot about the school; obviously they’re very high in academics,” Bartlett said. “I know that they are in the Pac-12, and it’s really a great feeling to be recognized by a school like that, to give me a shot and a good look. That’s all really good, but I have to do a little bit more research as far as Cal goes.”
In a word, what do the Bears like about Bartlett? Everything.
“I think, from the academic standpoint, I’m the kind of player they’re looking for,” said Bartlett. “I think they looked at my film, and I guess they showed it to the whole staff, and the tight ends coach was like, ‘Hey, we can make him into a tight end,’ and the outside linebackers coach was like, ‘Hey, he can be a good player at outside ‘backer.’ Different coaches at different positions could see the potential there, I guess, and I think that piqued their interest, and led to them offering.”
Bartlett doesn’t have a positional preference at the next level, having played quarterback, safety and outside linebacker.
“When you’re playing quarterback for your high school, I think, especially the last six years, I’ve really put in time to be a good quarterback, but I don’t think it’s a very wise decision to kind of shut out schools when they want you to play different positions,” Bartlett said. “I don't think I have a specific position I want to play. I’ve put the time in at quarterback, and I like playing quarterback, but if the opportunity comes around because it’s a Pac-12 school, or something like that, I’m definitely going to give it a fair look, and consider it pretty seriously.”
Bartlett is also double-tough. This past season, he played in every weather condition imaginable.
“We played our second game and it was 95 degrees at kickoff, our third game we played in heavy fog, we played in snow – it was about six inches deep on the field and they just plowed the lines,” Bartlett said. “In Wyoming, the wind blows a lot, so we played in a lot of windy, cold games. I think when we played our crosstown rivals, it was maybe 15 degrees outside, wind howling about 30 miles an hour. The state game was in Laramie, which is where the University of Wyoming is at, and it’s at a higher elevation, so it gets pretty chilly over there. We played in it all. We played in rain, snow, sleet, fog, hot, cold. You name it; we played in it last year.”
Bartlett loves to play defense in the more extreme conditions – the cold, the wind, the wet – but as a quarterback, he prefers at least some kind of dry conditions.
“When it gets kind of cold, if the field’s dry and we’re on turf, I don’t mind that at all,” Bartlett said. “That doesn’t bother me. You can get your hands warm in between plays, wear gloves or whatever the case may be. I tell you what, I hate throwing when it’s wet outside, like in the snow. When we played that game up in Casper, and they cleared the lines just so we could see the field because it was snowing and the snow was so deep, that game was awful. The snow was caked on the ball, with mud on it. If we can avoid the moisture, as far as playing quarterback, that’s ideal.”
Defense, though, is a different story.
“I do like it when it’s a little bit colder, because you hit guys, and they just don’t want to be there,” Bartlett said. “It kind of breaks them, mentally, a little bit. You see who the real tough guys are out there, and the guys willing to step up and kind of show what they’re made of.”
Bartlett hasn’t played outside linebacker since his sophomore year, since putting the starting quarterback in harm’s way, his coaches reasoned, wasn’t necessary.
“I would have started [on the outside] for our team, but when you’re the starting quarterback as a sophomore, coaches are kind of hesitant to throw you in at defense,” Bartlett said. “I’ve played a little bit, and I was pretty good. I shut down the outside run, played well, but why put him out there if you don’t need to, to jeopardize that? I have played it, just not as much at the varsity level.”
Bears Offer Do-Everything Bartlett
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