Quickly, who can tell me who Nick Szpor is?
Hint: He’s a starter for Wyoming’s football team as a true freshman walk-on.
Still no clue?
Szpor came to UW this summer as a 6-foot-3, 202-pound true freshman walk-on quarterback from Central High in Fresno, California, right in Fresno State’s backyard.
“One of my best friends from home picked Wyoming to go to school as a regular student, and he offered to bring me out here to check things out,” Szpor said. “My dad found (UW director of recruiting) Gordie Haug’s email address and contacted him.
“We took a trip here. Gordie gave us a tour. We met with (UW offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach) Brent Vigen and I was offered a walk-on spot.”
Szpor said he had chances to walk-on at some FCS schools in California, and also had scholarship offers from some NCAA Division II schools. None of those opportunities appealed to him.
“Wyoming was my cheapest and most exciting offer,” he said.
Szpor arrived at UW this summer and worked out with the team. During fall camp, UW coaches asked if Szpor had ever been a holder on field goals and extra points. Szpor did it for three years in high school. UW gave him a shot, he did well and he was the guy in the Cowboys’ opener last Saturday against Northern Illinois.
UW punter Ethan Wood was the holder last season. Szpor said Wood “is a very talented holder of the ball,” but added UW wanted to take its No. 1 punter out of that role if possible to avoid injury.
“Its amazing. I’m getting a lot of recognition from my friends back home,” Szpor said.
Szpor and another walk-on true freshman quarterback — Isaac Leppke — serve as UW’s scout team quarterbacks. The scout team quarterback emulates the quarterback of the opposing team UW plays each week.
UW doesn’t play Fresno State this season, but will next season and that game should be in Laramie. The next time the Cowboys play the Bulldogs in Fresno is 2018 (unless the Mountain West office alters its current scheduling structure). I asked Szpor if he grew up a Fresno State fan.
“Not at all. I can’t stand that team,” he said. “My dad went there and he does not like how the program has perfomred the past few years.”
Added Szpor when I asked him if he was heart-broken when Nebraska (UW’s opponent this week) beat Fresno State 43-10 last Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska: “Not at all.”
Got a cool story running in Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the Laramie Boomerang and online at wyosports.net on UW sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard and his family ties to the Nebraska football program and the state. Be sure to check it out.
For a preview, here’s the video interview I did with Wingard Monday.