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Weber State football: First spring practice nixed by weather; WSU hires D-line coach

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Mar 14, 2023

Jaylen Johnson

Weber State football was supposed to open spring camp Tuesday but the winter’s relentless precipitation said otherwise.

Due to soggy, slushy conditions at Stewart Stadium, Weber State postponed the first practice of the spring to Thursday.

When camp does open, it will be the first official practice with Mickey Mental at the helm after his promotion to head coach in December 2022.

Ahead of camp, Weber State announced Tuesday that Mental has hired the final full-time assistant to his staff with the addition of Jaylen Johnson to coach defensive tackles.

Johnson is a former defensive lineman at Washington, where he recorded 74 tackles and 6.5 sacks from 2015-18. After a year coaching high school football, Johnson returned to his alma mater to coach the defensive line as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons.

“Words cannot express how grateful I am to (Weber State) for this opportunity, so let me do it with my work!” Johnson tweeted Tuesday. “Thank you to (Washington) for taking care of me for the last nine years! Now it’s time to GRIND and prove all those who had my back right!”

The native of Corona, California, graduated from Washington with a degree in political science.

Johnson replaces James Cowser, the Kaysville native who spent three seasons at Weber State coaching defensive line as a volunteer assistant and then as a full-time assistant. Cowser took the same job at Utah Tech.

Though WSU has enjoyed a relatively high level of coach continuity over the last decade, Johnson is the fourth defensive line coach in four seasons after longtime D-line coach Kite Afeaki left in 2020 and was replaced by Bojay Filimoeatu for one season and Cowser the next.

Johnson’s hire completes Mental’s first staff. He also promoted Zach Larson from offensive graduate assistant to quarterbacks coach to fill the open position created when Jay Hill left for BYU and Mental was promoted to head coach.


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