On January 28, Rutgers football team will be holding walk-on tryouts in hopes of finding dedicated, hard working players looking to play college football in the Big Ten. Students interested in the tryouts can find information packets at the Hale Center. To be eligible to tryout, students must return the packets by January 22.
Come join the Brotherhood ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/LRo3tiys4R— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) January 3, 2019
There should be plenty of opportunity for interested players looking to make the roster. Coming off last season, the Scarlet Knights are looking for valuable pieces all over the field. Former Rutgers walk-ons include Gary Brackett, Shaun O’Hara, and Michael Burton. Recent graduate transfer Muhammad Wainwright, DE, made a contribution on the field last season, seeing action in eight total games.
Another notable walk-on was running back Paul James. During his time at Glassboro High School, James did not get any Division I attention. James finished his career as a team captain, Loyal Knight Award winner and 2013 Offensive MVP.
There are differences between preferred walk-ons, recruited walk-ons and unrecruited walk-ons. As a preferred walk-on, you’ll receive the attention and status of a scholarship athlete, minus the scholarship. You have a spot on the team, that you need to maintain, but no scholarship. Recruited walk-ons aren’t guaranteed a spot on the team, and often have to tryout, but are encouraged to do so by coaches. The most common type of walk-on, the uncrecruited walk-on, starts from the ground up, attends an open tryout, constantly fighting for a spot, and has to work to maintain that spot.
Truth be told, most athletes are encouraged to walk-on by a coach who sees interest in them. The Rudy stories are far and few. If any students are interested, and feel that they have what it takes to hang with a Big Ten football program, they’re strongly encouraged to tryout, but there are no guarantees.
If they’re lucky, Rutgers will find a gem of a walk-on, or at least a few serviceable practice players who better the team as a whole.