For every starting lineup of a college football team, there is a crew of guys who may never get to take a snap. These walk-ons balance school and regimented practices without being recognized or publicly appreciated in the way scholarship players are.
After years of taking the heavy hits and staying in the lowlight, football walk-ons across the U.S. are uniting to have their story heard. University “Walk-On U” Twitter pages have swept the nation, providing walk-ons with the opportunities to poke fun at themselves while also getting the recognition they deserve.
Junior Zach Goins, who works for the University Desk of The Daily Tar Heel, is a walk-on football player at UNC who created UNC’s version of “Walk-On U” in fall of 2016. As of now, the page has a loyal fan base of 1,296 followers with strong connections to comparable walk-on Twitter pages from other schools.
“At every school, the story is the same,” Goins said. “They all go through this. We actually have a GroupMe with close to 100 guys, and it’s like two or three guys from each school. We’re all about networking and reaching out to our fellow walk-ons.”
Goins said he jokes that walk-ons have a motto that they are going pro in something other than sports. But being a walk-on doesn’t necessarily lead to a life of mediocrity. There’s always the chance of catching a break on the field and making it big. Take Mack Hollins, for example. In the span of five years, Mack Hollins went from a walk-on player on the UNC football team to a Super Bowl champion.