Dave Christensen wishes it had lasted longer.
When he thinks about Chris Prosinksi, Christensen – now entering his third season as the University of Wyoming football coach -- said that was the overriding emotion as the senior safety prepared to leave for the NFL.
Christensen coached Prosinski two seasons, 2009 and 2010.
And as he sees it, that wasn't long enough.
"I wish I'd had four years with him," Christensen said of Prosinski, who the Jaguars selected this past weekend with a fourth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the 121st
selection overall. "He continues to get better every year."
Prosinski (6-feet-1, 201 pounds), who played at Buffalo (Wyoming) High School, started 37 of 49 games for the Cowboys, finishing his career as the school's fourth all-time leading tackler.
"Obviously the fans thought the world of him, as our coaching staff did," Christensen said.
He finished with 373 tackles, five interceptions and 21 pass breakups, and Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith said he has "legitimate range for a safety." While Smith said he perhaps is more of a free safety, he also said he can play either position.
Christensen said when it comes to describing Prosinski on the field, it's relatively simple.
"He's a hitter," Christensen said. "He played safety, so he'll come up and try to put the hit on you. He's very athletic and very explosive. He's a guy who is probably going to take some time to learn how to play safety at that level. He'll probably come in and contribute right away on special teams and give great effort on that.
"He'll develop into a player."
Prosinski, who is expected to contribute quickly on special teams, ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, and Jaguars Director Player Personnel Terry McDonough said he has the ideal height, weight, and speed for the position.
"On tape he likes to come down to the alley and fill," McDonough said. "He'll look the part when he gets out here. He'll learn it, he can run and we like productive guys that are smart and tough that can run and like football. We're trying to building a team full of those guys. "
Christensen said it was what Prosinski did before his junior season – and in preparation for it, actually – that he will remember.
Christensen took over for Joe Glenn, who had recruited Prosinski.
"He was an established player when I got there, and he just continued to work hard," Christensen said. "He was one of the players I inherited that was a returning starter. He really bought into what we were trying to do, changing the culture.
"He was a soldier of the program."
Christensen said such a transition can be difficult, particularly when it comes to upperclassmen accepting a new coaching staff. There were no such issues with Prosinski, Christensen said.
"He never was an issue in any way whatsoever," Christensen said. "He was 100 percent in the entire time he was there. It's difficult. The guy who had recruited him had lost his job, and I was brought in. He never faltered. He was always 100 percent and just did a tremendous job of being one of the hardest workers on the football team."
Christensen said it was clear from physical tests that Prosinski had the measurables to have a chance to play in the NFL.
"It was a matter of putting it on video and having a chance for NFL scouts to see it," Christensen said.
He did so, and this winter and spring while preparing for the NFL Draft, Christensen said Prosinski approached it with diligence and dedication.
"He changed his body drastically from the time our season ended until the draft," Christensen said. "He went away and trained and came back a different guy. He wasn't bad before that, but he was chiseled. He had to be low single-digit body fat when he came back for his Pro Day.
"He looked like a million bucks and performed like a million bucks. He put out some really good test results, and some really good numbers. That's where his stock really started to climb."
Prosinski, who Christensen termed a quiet leader, spent his senior season as the Cowboys' captain, a role many Jaguars rookie played in college. Christensen said that wasn't surprising from a player who contributed to the program in far more ways than just on the field.
"He certainly led by example," Christensen said. "He's got all the tools, all the intangibles. He's going to be successful in whatever he does. He's going to play football for 'X' amount of years, but he's going to be successful after that.
"He was a great guy in the community. All of the things a coach looks for in a player he possesses. I'd take him for five more years."