Wilson awards scholarships to 6 walk-ons #iufb

Every summer, a small collection of Indiana’s walk-on players are put on scholarship as a nod to their work.

For Kevin Wilson, it’s one of the perks of his job.

The Indiana coach is a former walk-on offensive lineman at North Carolina, and the annual ritual of delivering scholarships functions as a point of pride for Wilson.

So he was happy to alert kicker Griffin Oakes, long snapper Dan Godsil, receivers Mitchell Paige and Ricky Brookins, defensive back Ben Bach and running back Alex Rodriguez that their tuition is covered for the upcoming year.

“It’s a big part of our team,” Wilson said. “The only tough thing about it was I selfishly wish I had a little bit more for a couple guys. Because for me, I’ve got one or two more that have earned it. I just didn’t have it in the hand right now.”

Walk-ons occupy a valuable wing of the program, and Wilson is often quick to point to those players that have earned a higher standing at Indiana. Paige, who led the team with six touchdowns in 2015, is a good recent example. So, too, is former tight end Michael Cooper, who developed into a contributor last season and is currently in camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Wilson awards these scholarships on a one-year basis. Just because an IU player earns a full ride one season, does not mean he is in line to receive one the next. Bach, Paige, Oakes and Brookins each earned them last season, but had to prove through their grades, effort and approach to the team that they were deserving of another year.

“You’ve got to hold the standard,” Wilson said.

Those four, along with Rodriguez and Godsil, have done so.

“Last year we went to Purdue (and) we had 17 walk-ons on that bus,” Wilson said. “I think we had nine touchdowns the last three games for guys that were walk-ons.”

10 comments

  1. I love this story and I really appreciate and applaud Wilson for taking the opportunity to recognize and reward these walk-ons. It seems his sentiments come straight from his heart. Just one questions though: did I understand it correctly, that Paige, the player that lead IU in touchdowns last year, was not on scholarship? That seems amazing to me. I mean, good for him, but that raises some interesting questions.

  2. More land mines to undermine….They are always set just after smoothing the dirt on a complementary road. It’s a real art.

  3. Hey Po,
    Paige was on scholarship in 2015. Prior to that, he was not. Wilson gives scholarships to walk-ons on an annual basis, so Paige had to earn it back during the last few months. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  4. It is a good story and I am glad you wrote about these guys getting scholarships. It takes a lot of different people to make a college team and walk-on are a part of is; some times a big part.

  5. Also the walk on program is just not important to finding possible game day contributors but to install viable talent to offer stiff competition during the weak to the game day contributors. Build from the bottom up for quality depth.

  6. Just a few of the players who walked-on to their college team and went on to make it big in the NFL: Jordy Nelson (GB), Antonio Brown, TJ Ward, Clay Mathews, Logan Mankins. JJ Watt got a scholarship at Western Michigan, but left the team and walked-on at Wisconsin. A few of those guys will probably be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame some day. I love the way Wilson announces the scholarships so that these young men get the recognition they deserve.

  7. Mike, how many scholarships does IU Football provide each season? Do they give out the same number of scholarships as all other Power-conference programs?

  8. Not sure if Podunker believes he’s offering a rebuttal to Clarion’s post…I’m pretty sure Clarion wasn’t talking disparagingly toward walk-on]s….

    Also the walk on program is just not important to finding possible game day contributors

    I believe that was intended to mean the same as saying “is not only important” ….

    Wow..Podunker’s list is in the exact same order as the top names from this article..

  9. 63 scholarships? Mike is likely already in his velveteen robe with matching slippers… settling in and sipping some cognac in tufted leather wing chair before retiring for the evening…

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