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DAVIS, Calif. –
Former UC Davis punter Colby Wadman made his NFL debut on Sunday as a member of the Denver Broncos. Signed to Denver's practice squad on Sept. 26, his inaugural game as a Bronco was a busy one since it included eight punts for 329 yards.
Including his longest kick of 57 yards, the former Aggie averaged 41.1 yards per attempt and landed three of his kicks inside the 20.
Wadman's appearance at MetLife Stadium — the Broncos traveled east to face the New York Jets this weekend — was the culmination of a process that began shortly after he graduated from UC Davis.
Sunday's appearance marked Wadman's first in-game action since he competed in the 2016 Causeway Classic, his final game as an Aggie. That afternoon, the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native punted three times for an average of 48.3 yards per kick, and booted one 61 yards in front of a home crowd that celebrated a UC Davis victory to keep the Causeway trophy in Davis for another year.
Wadman's signing took place within a three-year timespan the new Bronco punter gave himself to pursue his professional dream, a countdown that began once he earned his degree from the fifth-ranked public school in the nation.
While practicing his craft, the three-time All-Big Sky Conference sold pizzas, which also provided him a flexible working hours around his training schedule.
"It was just something where I was trying to pay bills and rent while I was living with my teammates," Wadman said in a recent interview. "I had a plan: three years after graduation. That's what I was going to give it. I was just going to devote everything to football and work a small job like that just to pay the rent."
Last December, he moved back with his parents, which provided additional time to remain in game-ready shape. Often, he kicked and trained by himself. On other occasions, specialists in the area would join him. Collectively, this group shared the same mission: do whatever it took to earn an NFL opportunity.
On March 16, Wadman's NFL dream took one more step towards becoming reality when the Oakland Raiders signed him less than a year after he participated in the organization's rookie minicamp. However, the Raiders waived him two months later after selecting a kicker in the 2018 Draft.
For most individuals, that taste of life in the NFL would have been enough. And if Wadman decided to take that route, few would have blamed him, especially after enjoying a successful college career.
Throughout his four years with the Aggies, Wadman averaged 41.0 yards per punt, for nearly 10,000 yards (9,995, to be exact), on 244 attempts.
Undaunted following the Raiders' decision, Wadman continued to train and workout in the hopes of earning another shot with a NFL club — hard work and a belief in himself that was rewarded once the Broncos contacted him.
In addition to his punting responsibilities, Wadman served as the team's holder on Brandon McManus' lone field goal attempt versus the Jets — a skill set the former Aggie possesses, and is comfortable executing, since he held throughout his time at UC Davis and Thousand Oaks High School.
MetLife Stadium couldn't be further away from Aggie Stadium, Wadman's other football home where he spent countless hours strengthening his skills to give him the best chance of pursuing his NFL dream. However, both facilities offered the same opportunity to an individual that took a chance on himself, and delivered.
"I'm just kicking, no matter where I'm at," Wadman said. "If it's 10,000 people or 60,000 people, I'm just kicking the ball. It's the same thing at the end of the day."
Wadman's alma mater will host Idaho State on Saturday in this year's 4 p.m. Homecoming game. In addition to this matchup, which features two of the Big Sky's three teams with an undefeated league record, a yearly UC Davis tradition will also take place beforehand: Brewfest.
Ticket packages, including ones for season ticket holders and UC Davis students ages 21 and over, are available for purchase
. The ninth-annual Brewfest will take place on Aggie Tailgate Field from 1-3:30 p.m.
Football fans, and campus visitors, can celebrate UC Davis' position as the No. 1 academic brewing program in North America by purchasing a Brewfest ticket package, which included unlimited tastings throughout Saturday's pregame event, a commemorative UC Davis Brewfest tasking mug and a ticket for that day's UC Davis-Idaho State football game.
Established during the 2017-18 academic year, the Aggie EVO System is UC Davis Athletics' investment in the primary mission of preparing student-athletes for a successful "launch" after graduation.
Thanks to a collaboration of alumni, university resources, corporate partners, coaches and Student-Athlete Outcomes staff, all Aggies are guided over four years to acquire the skills, knowledge, opportunities and tools to better know and navigate the "World of Work" after graduating from UC Davis. Follow the Aggie EVO system on Twitter and Instagram at @AggieEVO.
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Secure the best possible seats at all home games throughout the 100th season of UC Davis football by purchasing mini packs or single-game tickets. Directly support the program by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1, or online at UCDavisAggies.com.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley.
The No. 5-ranked public university in the nation, according to the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.