It’s nice to share good sports stories once in awhile. The idealistic notion of NCAA and college athletics being a pure, wholesome environment where young student-athletes are universally nourished, cultivated and developed has certainly tarnished over the years (and with good reason). Yet, once in awhile, college sports can remind you why there is still a theoretical difference between amateur athletics and the pros. Namely, because we’re talking about college kids, which can lead to some pretty tremendous moments. The awarding of a scholarship to Florida Gators walk-on running back Mark Herndon yesterday qualifies as one of those occasions.
The story has begun to circulate around the Interwebs, and it’s not news because it never happens. It’s catching fire because these stories are less frequently shared (people seem to crave the bad more than the good), and because they are an awesome reminder that not every player that steps on the field for SEC powerhouses like Florida is a five-star recruit DMOC who’s had everything handed to him and doesn’t give a f about anything. For those who’ve had to work a little harder, the reward is often that much sweeter. And to see the joy of a 19 or 20-something year-old kid at realizing that dream…wow. See: Herndon, Mark.
Herndon is a 5’9, 193-lb. running back from Ocala, Fla. Growing up, he followed the Gators but couldn’t afford to come in and watch the games. In 2012, he walked on to the team as a freshman and appeared in six games earning his playing times as a special teamer.
Yesterday, Gators running backs coach Brian White delivered the news that Herndon had earned a full scholarship. The reaction was one of tears. Coach White made sure someone captured the powerful moment, and then celebrated it via his Instagram account.
coach_bwhite on Instagram
The smile apparently didn’t leave Herndon’s face for quite some time on Tuesday. What makes this story even better? Realizing how much a scholarship can change things for a kid.
From the Twitter feed of Palm Beach Post Gators’ beat writer Jason Lieser.
Run from the Ramen, Mr. Herndon. Seat at the table. Sounds like you’ve earned it.Congratulations.
HT: SB Nation