Andre Hunt’s sack helped Rutgers make a late defensive stand to beat Navy. (Photo: Tanya Breen/Staff photographer )
WALK-ON SAVES GAME FOR RUTGERS
Rutgers football’s Andre Hunt’s defensive debut is memorable
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Andre Hunt’s sack for Rutgers in the final minute of the fourth quarter Saturday against Navy wasn’t just one of the biggest plays of the game. It was the biggest defensive play of his life.
What ranks second? Probably either of the other two tackles he made in the game because his collegiate debut marked the first defensive game of his career, including the high school and prep school levels.
“In high school I just played running back the whole time,” Hunt said after remembering he played some linebacker during his Pop Warner days. “I never got the details of playing defense.”
Hunt joined Rutgers last summer as a walk-on halfback out of Hargrave Military Academy – the same school that produced Rutgers teammates L.J. Liston and Djwany Mera – and was moved to wide receiver and then to safety. He redshirted in 2013 before playing mostly on special teams in two of the first three games.
In theory, Hunt was prepared for a moment like the one that came in the first quarter of Rutgers’ 31-24 victory. Free safety Delon Stephenson suffered an undisclosed injury (he did not return) and a defense relying on extra safeties to stop the triple-option offense called upon Hunt to take a bigger role.
“I wasn’t expecting it, either. It caught me by surprise,” Hunt said. “When I got out there I just had to keep my cool, trust my technique, believe what the coaches told me to do and just do it.”
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said he expected the type of game where some role players might have to make a difference and Hunt’s teammates weren’t surprised to see him answer the call.
“He is a guy who comes in with a blue-collar-type mentality and knows all his assignments,” said redshirt senior defensive end David Milewski, who had an up-close look at the sack. “You have a couple Andre Hunts, man, you’ll be in good shape.”
The Eagan, Minn. native’s big moment came just when it appeared Navy was going to tie the score.
On second-and-goal from the 6-yard line, Hunt came free off an edge blitz and dragged down quarterback Keeenan Reynolds for a 10-yard loss. Two plays later, Rutgers completed a defensive stand.
“It was a big moment, a key point in the game for us to get the ‘W,’” said Hunt, who admitted he will probably watch the highlight “quite a few times.” “(On the snap, I was thinking) just to stay calm. Don’t get too excited. Watch the quarterback. If it happens, just make the play.”
Coming through in that spot reminded Hunt of advice he received from his father Leon, who showed his own versatility by playing both inside linebacker and running back at Wisconsin from 1986-90.
“I was very ready,” Hunt said. “My dad always told me, ‘You never know.’ He said during his time a lot of guys went down and guys had to step up. I really took his advice – and the coaches’ – just to be ready.”
Leon Hunt grew up in Trenton and attended Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville. It was he who first introduced his son to Rutgers football games.
“I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to come here and play for Rutgers,” Hunt said. “I didn’t know too much about it (the school). Out in Minnesota people were like, ‘What’s Rutgers? Never heard of that before.’ I’m like, ‘A Big Ten school in New Jersey.’”
And a Big Ten school in New Jersey with a surprising 3-1 record secured in part by Andre Hunt.
Staff Writer Ryan Dunleavy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk-on Lane Hovey steps up
Posted: Saturday, September 13, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 7:40 pm, Sun Sep 14, 2014.
Notes: Walk-on Lane Hovey steps up; Kalu shines in start; Gregory sees 'dirty' play By Rich Kaipust and Jon Nyatawa / World-Herald staff writers The Omaha World-Herald
FRESNO, Calif. — Nebraska’s health issues in its receiving corps resulted in an unlikely contributor Saturday.
Sophomore walk-on Lane Hovey caught a career-high three passes for 48 yards in the 55-19 win at Fresno State. The biggest of those was a quick slant from Tommy Armstrong on third-and-3 from the NU 9 — after FSU had just cut its deficit to 34-12 — that went for 29 yards.
OU football: LB Caleb Gastelum earns scholarship from Bob Stoops
Oklahoma walk-on linebacker Caleb Gastelum is a walk-on no more.
The senior from Claremore was awarded the game ball and a scholarship following the Sooners' 52-7 win over Tulsa on Saturday. The OU Football Twitter account posted that coach Bob Stoops made the announcement following the win.
Gastelum recorded his first career sack and interception against the Golden Hurricane. The 6-foot-2, 217 pounder also tied Eric Striker for the team lead in tackles against Tulsa with eight.
by Erik Horne Published: September 6, 2014
Oklahoma Sooner Caleb Gastelum (45) deflects a pass intended for Kenneth Dixon during a college football game between OU and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., 8/31/14
OKLAHOMA UNIVERSITY WALK-ON STEPS UP
In College Football's first weekend of the 2014 season, Walk-On linebacker Caleb Gastelum of Oklahoma University was tapped to go in early in the first quarter and played the rest of the game helping to lead the Sooners to a victory over LA. Tech. Click link below to read the story by Jenni Carlson, sports columnist at The Oklahoman.
by Jenni Carlson Published: August 31, 2014
Author and former USC Trojan, Tim Lavin illustrates the incredible phenomenon of college football’s Walk-On Athletes. Depicting the ugly, the bad and the good, his new book is about survival, education, mental toughness and character building.
Tim further represents the drudgery most college athletes experience when they are not on scholarship and thus labeled as a “Walk-On.” The realities are seldom discussed but most certainly exist amongst walk-ons collectively, including hundreds of well-known walk-on’s such as Clay Matthews and JJ Watt. Each echo the importance of heart, determination, patience, and sheer will, necessary to conquer massive amounts of abuse, while willfully paying the price for a chance to prove they can play on Saturday.
“Walk-On U” is an educational tool for high school student-athletes pondering the next step should their dreams of earning a college scholarship not come true. For those who choose to walk-on, this book is about about achievingmany humble victories, both on and off the field, as well as celebrating those unwavering underdogs and their triumphs.
Walk-On U book cover
What EVERY Current and Future WALK-ON Should Know about the WALK-ON WORLD - the good, the bad, and the ugly...
WALK-ON U: The Shocking Truth Behind Football's Unsung Underdogs is for every walk-on, male and female, in all sports. This book sheds light on the reality of being a walk-on and what you can do to mentally prepare, endure, and rise to the top!
If you are currently a walk-on in college sports, this book is for YOU!
If you are current a high school student athlete considering walking-on to a program even if you don't get a scholarship, this book is for YOU!
If you are a parent of a current or future walk-on, this book is for YOU!
WALK-ON U TM
The Inclusion Petition
“Walk-on's should be allowed to eat at training table during the season and during Spring Football without having to pay for it.”
- Lou Holtz, College Football Head Coach
"I am so glad you are doing this book. It is time to shed light on the plight of walk-ons."
- Dabo Swinney, Head Football Coach, Clemson
"It's doesn't make much sense. In an age where every university is in an arms race to build multi-million dollar athletic facilities, and their coaches are earning sever figure salaries, and the walk-ons who are just trying to improve can't eat with their teammates after practice?"
- Terry Donahue, Former Head Football Coach, UCLA
"HE" was a Walk-On?? Find out Who was a Walk-On, only to rise to the NFL or elite Coaching status...
Shocking Stories from Walk-Ons of yesterday, how they overcame the odds to succeed at the highest level, and what needs to be done today to change the unbelievable conditions walk-ons endure.
There are scores of riveting stories from College Football's biggest names! Here are just some of those members in the book and members of the WALK-ON U Hall of Fame.
|Lou Holtz||Matt Rhule||Clay Matthews||Karl Mecklenburg||Daryl Washington||Mike Sherrard||Margus Hunt|
|Terry Donahue||Tony Levine||Gary Brackett||Jordy Nelson||Terry Glenn||Aeneas Williams||Darren Woodson|
|Dabo Swinney||Kevin Sumlin||Thomas Howard||Mike Sherrard||Rich Coady||Scott Fujita||Brandon Weeden|
|Jim Mora, Jr||Rick Neuisel||JJ Watt||Jim Leonhard||Everson Walls||Santana Moss||Christian Okoye|
|Shaun O'Hara||Clay Matthews||Logan Mankins||Dennis Pitta||Daryl Washington||Ziggy Ansah||Jared Abbrederis|
|Urban Meyer||Bret Bielema||Thomas Smith||Matt Tobin||Scott Shanle||Jarrod Pughsley|
|NAME||HEAD COACH||WALK-ON AT||POSITION|
|Dabo Swinney||Clemson||Alabama||Wide Receiver|
|Kevin Sumlin||Texas A&M||Purdue||Linebacker|
|Tony Levine||Houston||Minnesota||Wide Receiver|
|Matt Rhule||Temple||Penn State||Linebacker|
|Jim Mora||UCLA||Washington||Defensive Back|
|Urban Meyer||Ohio State||Cincinnati||Safety|
|Bret Bielema||Arkansas||Iowa||Nose Guard|
|Aaron Davis||U of Georgia||S||RS Freshman|
|Caleb Gastelum||U of Oklahoma||ILB||Senior|