The ‘graceful bully’ who almost came to Wyoming
LARAMIE -- David Roddy's offensive coordinator in high school hopes his star pupil lands a double-double in both games against Wyoming this weekend inside the Arena-Auditorium.
He also hopes the Cowboys beat Colorado State by 40.
That's because he is Marcus Harris, UW's all-time leading receiver and the 1996 Biletnikoff Trophy recipient.
"That's accurate," Harris joked. "As long as my boy does good and my squad gets the victory, I'm good."
Roddy, the 6-foot-5, 252-pound forward for the Rams, played his prep ball at Breck, a small Presbyterian school in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Before he was CSU's leading scorer, averaging 16 points per outing, he was slinging the football around the yard for the Mustangs.
As a senior, Roddy was a finalist for Minnesota Mr. Football.
It's not difficult to see why.
The big gunslinger threw for 1,776 yards and 20 touchdowns. He led the Mustangs to the playoffs and earned a spot on the All-State team. Roddy also suited up for the North squad of in the Minnesota All-Star game at U.S. Bank Stadium, where he tossed a pair of touchdown passes and was named the offensive MVP of the game.
That production caught the attention of a nearly every Big Ten team and numerous other schools around the country.
So, why on earth is he playing hoops in Fort Collins? Well, most of those teams wanted him to play a different position.
Craig Bohl and Co. were very much on board with putting Roddy under center, while other programs saw him as a defensive end or tight end, Harris said.
"He's a special dude," said Harris, who is the head groundskeeper at the school, along with coaching football, girl's basketball and softball. "He has a passion for hoops. And when it comes down to it, schools weren't interested in letting him do what he loved and that's playing quarterback."
Roddy said Tuesday that Northern Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota State were the other schools that wanted him to play QB. He joked that Harris definitely promoted Laramie and what it was like to play in Wyoming, but in the end, both knew the decision was ultimately Roddy's.
"He wanted me to figure it out myself," Roddy said. "You know, he always would try to like nudge me into (Wyoming), but he left it up to me. I really respect him for that."
When the decision was made to play basketball, the next step was where to go. Roddy received offers from Northwestern, Nebraska and the hometown Gophers. Niko Medved was also involved the entire time.
CSU's head coach joked Tuesday that it wasn't hard to convince Roddy to not play football in Laramie and to come join his program.
"Can I say this publicly? I shouldn't say it," Medved smiled. "I mean, I don't think that was too difficult ... But, I mean, if you had the choice to go play football there or play basketball here ... I mean, come on."
Rivalry banter aside, Harris said CSU "rolled out the red carpet" for Roddy. That sealed the deal.
"I let him enjoy the experience," Harris said. "They did big things for him and it's panning out."
Wyoming head basketball coach Jeff Linder called Roddy a "bull in a China closet" during his weekly press conference. He knows the Cowboys will have to do what they can to contain the big man or it could be a long series.
Harris said despite the uniform, watching Roddy is a must. In fact, last week he was watching a CSU game in his man cave when Roddy violently swatted a shot.
"I jumped out of my seat," he laughed. "It is exciting for me. You always want to see young men do well, but especially when they are good kids."
Harris called Roddy a "graceful bully."
"Yeah, I would say that fits," Roddy said with a smile. "That's just my playing style. You know, when I'm on the field or the court, I'm very physical. Off it, I want to be a gentle guy -- and a humble guy, as well."
"That's probably a good analogy," he said. "I think maybe there's some truth to that. I think that people are surprised when they see how big and physical he is. The more you watch him, you see how graceful he really is and how light he is on his feet and how quick he is off the floor.
"That's what makes him a special athlete."
Roddy laughed and said he still needs to get Harris some green-and-gold gear. Reluctantly, Harris said he would oblige.
Not this week though.
"I said, by law, I still have to call you the Sheep, but I'll cheer for you," he joked. "CSU did it right for him. They had a plan for him and it's coming to fruition. You can't fault him."
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