LARAMIE — Brock Beddes has neon green cleats. Outside of his man bun, they’re easily the most distinct thing about the Wyoming redshirt sophomore.
But brown and gold are the colors he has always wanted to wear.
Beddes graduated from Natrona County High School in 2011, and while he’s not quite the oldest player on the Wyoming football team — defensive end Nela Lolohea holds that honor — the 24-year-old’s road to Laramie has been anything but speedy.
Beddes’ senior year of high school, he signed with Chadron State as a linebacker and kicker alongside fellow Mustangs Cole Montgomery and Kyle Vinich. He redshirted there for a semester before taking a two-year mission in Portugal. When he got back, he had two shoulder surgeries. Last spring, he attended Utah State. In the fall, he was at Casper College.
And now, he’s a Wyoming Cowboy.
“I mean, that was always what I wanted to do, ever since I was young,” Beddes said. “Throughout high school, I always wanted to play for UW, but (former Wyoming coach Dave) Christensen, he wasn’t quite as keen on picking up (Wyoming) guys and giving them a chance. But definitely, I always wanted to be here.”
Various motivations drew Beddes to his previous stops. Friends took him to Chadron State, missionary work took him to Europe, a girl took him to Utah State, and transfer complications took him back to Casper.
He was brought to the Cowboys to play a position he’s never played before in his life.
“I’ve never really punted before now,” Beddes said. “I mean, messing around and stuff.”
Former Mustangs and current Cowboys Logan Wilson and Josh Harshman helped Beddes get in touch with the Pokes. He was working out at Natrona County when he asked the two about becoming teammates.
“Anyway, I don’t remember who I reached out to first,” Beddes said. “But I got the number of somebody, and when they answered the phone, they had already known who I was. They said, ‘Oh, you used to kick for N.C.’
“But yeah, they just told me to come down here and see what happens during spring ball. They told me they couldn’t guarantee me anything, but an opportunity is all I could really ask for.”
Though he was a kicker and linebacker in high school, the Cowboys needed another punter for spring with 2017 signee Tim Zaleski still in high school and third-string quarterback Nick Szpor currently handling first-team punt duties.
It’s coming along, slowly.
“Every day I actually feel like I get a little bit better,” Beddes said. “There’s a few technical things. (Kicker Cooper Rothe) has been trying to coach me up a little. He’s not a punter, but he knows stuff from (graduated senior punter Ethan Wood).”
Last week, Beddes nearly took out his head coach with a punt as Craig Bohl was chatting with media on the sideline.
“They (were) just having us do pop-ups, and it’s only 30 yards,” Beddes said. “So when you’re not really putting your full foot into it — I don’t know. I’m not a great punter anyway, but yeah, that one just came off the right side of the foot and about got him.”
Luckily, the close call didn’t prevent Bohl from letting Beddes get in some kickoff and field goal reps later in the practice alongside Rothe. They were Beddes’ first live plays as a Cowboy.
“They weren’t incredible, but they weren’t terrible,” Beddes said. “And I think as I get out there now the consistency will come, and I’ll definitely get a bit of strength back.”
Not to say there weren’t still some butterflies.
“I was so nervous, I couldn’t tell you where I was kicking,” he said. “... I know that I missed the (field goal) from 50-something. Other than that, I could not tell you. I’d have to look at film.”
While Beddes has only practiced with the specialists this spring, there’s a possibility he could be used elsewhere. Bohl has brought up the idea of trying the onetime linebacker at defensive end.
“I was definitely surprised to hear that,” Beddes said. “I’ve never played D-end. I didn’t really think I have the body type for it, but that’s what he said.”
Beddes’ natural position is actually on the soccer pitch. He was a first-team all-state honoree his senior season of high school and considered playing soccer in college.
Hence the green shoes. They’re his cousin’s. He began using them for soccer after returning from Portugal and has been kicking footballs in them as well.
Beddes’ teammates have yet to give him any trouble for them, even if they do seem to adhere better to rival Colorado State’s color scheme.
He hasn’t gotten too much grief for the man bun, either.
“They just ask what I would say if they cut it off,” Beddes said of his new teammates, some of whom weren’t yet on the team the last time Beddes got a haircut. “And you know, I wouldn’t be too hurt. I mean, it’s kind of annoying, and if somebody cut it off, I’d be like, ‘Well, that’s the end of that.’ I don’t think I’ll grow it out again.”
Maybe the hair’s working. He and the girl? They’re still together.
“That’s why I was (at Utah State),” Beddes said. “And when I was there, I thought about playing, but I never wanted to play for them. I had always wanted to play here if I could.”