It was an announcement Cody football player Nic Talich had been waiting his whole life to make. Waiting just a few more months to say he was determined to play football at the University of Wyoming was a secret he was able to keep.
Last Thursday, Talich finally got to announce he will be playing for the Pokes as a preferred walk-on next fall.
“It’s kind of a surreal feeling just getting to play for the state I’ve always rooted for,” Talich said. “It’s definitely an honor.”
Due to the COVID-19 reduced season, all NCAA players were given a free season as far as their eligibility. This created unusual ambiguity within the University of Wyoming program as to how many players would return for next season, and how many preferred walk-on roster spots would be available, information that’s usually available by February.
Talich didn’t get the news until the night before his signing day and hardly wasted a minute in waiting to share it, making it official the very next morning.
“When I spoke with Nic and his family to let them know that we wanted him to be part of our program to see the joy on his face and his family members’ faces – that is what it’s all about,” said Shannon Moore, tight ends/fullbacks coach and co-special teams coordinator for UW. “The excitement I saw in them – I’ll never forget that moment.”
Talich led class 3A in total defensive points and tackles with 138, earned his second All-State award and was named 2020 Casper Star-Tribune Defensive Player of the Year. Still, coach Matt McFadden said it was the leadership Talich showed on and off the gridiron last fall during the Broncs’ championship season that truly set him apart.
“A humble servant-leader that was the last guy off the field helping to pick up equipment,” McFadden said. “He has always wanted to wear the brown and gold and I am so excited for him to see his dream come true. I can’t wait to watch him terrorize running backs in War Memorial (Stadium).”
Talich will follow in the footsteps of his father Jim Talich, who played linebacker for Wyoming from 1994-1997. Jim Talich also joined the team as a preferred walk-on like his son, coming from Pine Bluffs High School. He ended up earning an athletic scholarship, becoming a team captain and still ranks third on the school’s all-time tackle list.
“There’s days he’s going to be used like a punching bag,” Jim Talich said. “It’s a position of service. The team needs that.”
Nic Talich said his decision to play at UW and continue the family legacy was never in serious doubt, despite getting scholarship offers at other schools. He said some of his fondest childhood memories are of going to Cowboys’ games, decked out in full brown-and-gold regalia.
“It’s kind of always been a childhood dream of mine to always follow my dad’s footsteps,” Talich said. “He had a pretty good career down there, so hopefully I can live up to what he did down there.”
He’ll also be reuniting with his former teammate and 2020 Cody High School graduate Duncan Radakovich who is also playing for the Pokes. When Talich made the news public on Twitter, Radakovich tweeted out “Let’s go!!!” in approval.
“He’s one of my best friends and he’s going to be able to show me around,” Talich said. “It’s just icing on the cake.”
Talich said he was told by Moore that he will likely slot in at outside linebacker. The Cowboys had 14 linebackers on their roster this season and Talich said he’ll almost certainly redshirt his first year there, but Moore said he believes Talich can become “a very good football player and make an impact for the team” someday. He’s already gained around 20 pounds since last season and now is 6 feet tall and weighs 210 pounds.
“I definitely haven’t hit my full height yet,” Talich said.
Although he still hasn’t had a formal campus visit yet, Talich said he’ll be attending the annual UW spring game this Saturday and will report to Laramie in June for practice. He’ll be in good company from the get-go, as he will be rooming with Andrew Johnson from Cheyenne Central, a three-time 4A All-State honoree.
“I know we’re both pretty stoked to get down there,” Talich said.