Duncan Radakovich is what is known colloquially as a “late bloomer.”
He played only sparingly at the varsity football level his junior year before his stock took a drastic leap his senior season and he earned All-State honors.
Now, he is taking his football talent to the University of Wyoming, where he will play for the Pokes as a preferred walk-on.
Radakovich said he already knows he will likely redshirt his first season, giving him time to adjust to NCAA Division I FBS football.
“Seeing what he’s (UW coach Craig Bohl) done the last couple years with that program is incredible,” Radakovich said. “I’m pumped to be a part of it.”
He will play at a school that served as one of his father’s greatest rivals.
His father, J.D. Radakovich, played football at Colorado State from 1993-1997 as a defensive end. He, like Duncan, was a walk-on and understands the challenges his son is about to go through.
“It’s not an easy road,” J.D. said. “You have to be really committed to make it work.”
Nothing is guaranteed at the college level and Radakovich will have to keep developing in order to have a chance at seeing the field while playing at Wyoming as a projected defensive tackle.
But Radakovich already knows when it comes to football, it’s not over until it’s over. The fact that he is being considered for playing time is the ultimate testament to his growth.
After logging 31 tackles and two sacks his junior year, Duncan finished his senior year with a team-best four sacks and 62 tackles. It didn’t hurt that he gained 45 pounds between his junior and senior year, now sitting at 6 feet, 5 inches and 225 pounds.
“We’re just grateful for the coaches and the influences Duncan’s had in order to get him to a position where he can have this opportunity,” Duncan’s mother Elizabeth said. “He’s found a lot of joy in his teammates this year and the processes.”
In Wyoming, he will be joining a team headed on an upward trajectory. The Cowboys posted an 8-5 record last season with a win in the Arizona Bowl.
“Being on a team that’s on a bit of an upswing is awesome because going and playing on a team that is losing every game certainly wouldn’t be ideal,” Radakovich said. “Especially if you’re just redshirting and practicing all the time.”
Radakovich attended the Pokes’ game this season against Colorado State and took a tour of the campus facilities. He said he intends to study either business or sports medicine in Laramie.
“The facilities are top notch … it’s insane,” Radakovich said. “It’s going to be a really good opportunity and experience.”
Radakovich added it was a game against state champion Star Valley this past season that made him believe he can make it at the D-I level.
“At the start of the season I probably thought I could play at the next level but I didn’t think Division I really, until that game,” he said.
Radakovich will play his last high school football game in the Wyoming Shrine Bowl in June.