Thinking of the college walk-on athlete conjures up the Hollywood image of the scrappy, undersized underdog, overcoming impossible odds to make the team and the game-winning play–all at the climax of the film while the crowd cheers on his name. However, most of these movies leave off an important aspect of the tryout: paperwork
In order to become a Javelina football player, one must first fill out the necessary paperwork to even enter the field. Tryouts began on Jan. 21, as the coaches briefly introduced themselves and their expectations for potential Javelina players.
“Be a highly aware, focused, low-maintenance guy, and everything works great,” said Rob Rogers, head strength and conditioning coach, briefing the potential walk-ons on their workout schedule, which starts at 6 a.m. sharp and can last until 7:15 a.m.
“I don’t care if you’re a walk-on or an All-American, as long as you want to work, I want to work with you.”
After the physical, academic eligibility, and sickle cell anemia forms were turned in the following Wednesday, players would be one step closer to donning a Javelina football jersey on gameday. But first, they must put on a practice jersey and show off their skills in front of the coaching staff in a series of intensive drills demonstrating everything from agility, to explosiveness, and fundamental football technique.
Linebackers Coach Kevin May was put in charge of the tryout, which took place on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. in Javelina Stadium.
“It’s good to see so many guys come out and want to make the team, more than anything. The interest they have in the program was good to see,” May said.
The tryouts brought in an assortment of various players, from those who were overlooked during recruitment because of their size, to players who lost their academic eligibility last semester but have regained it since then.
Open spots on the team are limited, even more so than last year. To make the team, players need to stand out. One of the ways to do that is in speed on the field.
“I’m on the defensive side of the ball, our defense is based on speed. We’re not going to be the biggest guys, so speed is what we need,” May explained.
Eight players made the Spring Football Walk-on invitee list. It was posted on the weight room door on Friday, Jan. 29. The following players made the cut: Da’Shaun Smith, Jerricoe Jackson, Brayden Andel, Roel Morin, Quaylon Jones, Alejandro Pina, Kenned Micah, and Mario Guerro.
They will compete along with the other signees for a starting spot on the 2016 Javelina Football roster in Spring Football next month.
Follow Robert Breedlove on Twitter: @breedlovetcb