McCafferty Not Too Reckless

Each week Collin McCafferty puts on his Bearcats uniform just like his teammates. But when the game is played McCafferty knows his name will not be in bright lights and there is a good chance when he does make a play someone else will get credit for it. Welcome to being a "Special Teams Demon" in college football.

It wasn't supposed to be this way for Collin McCafferty when he dreamed about playing college football. At Kings (Ohio) High School, McCafferty was a star running back who rushed for over 1,000 yards in both his junior and senior seasons and earned 1st team All Fort Ancient Valley Conference honors both years.

But while college programs encouraged McCafferty to visit for games and take part in their camps they never really got around to making the push for him as a top scholarship recruit.

So when Mark Dantonio offered Collin a spot on the 105 man roster as a preferred walk-on, McCafferty was up for the task. A lot has changed for Collin McCafferty since his arrival at Cincinnati as a walk-on hoping to earn a scholarship by hard work.

"It's been pretty sweet, McCafferty said after practice this week. "When I first came here there was hardly anybody at the games. I remember the Rutgers game when kids started coming out of their dorm rooms when they realized we were beating Rutgers and was going to win. Now we have sold out crowds and that is really unbelievable."

As a non-scholarship player Collin knew there was a bit of recklessness in his decision to attend UC. With no more than a verbal promise that those who help the team are rewarded, the former running back took the challenge and looked to be part of a college team playing for championships.

"I remember talking with Coach Hinton when I was being recruited and he asked me if I wanted to come here and play on a contender for a BCS Championship. The other interest I was receiving was from MAC schools and I knew I couldn't do that at those schools."

While some may have thought Collin was crazy to think about Cincinnati in the same breath as BCS Championship, he never worried about what the future may or may not have or if he was just a practice body ready to be hit on a daily basis.

"I knew coming here would keep me close to home and my parents would be able to come to the games. I also knew it would be a little cheaper than some of the other schools I was looking at as I could live at home and still work towards my goals on the field."

But while many walk-ons give up on their goals, Collin knew he belonged and with the help of his family stayed the course despite the financial cost and the miles driven up and down I-71.

After working his way onto the Bearcats special teams, Collin final was rewarded with a scholarship by Brian Kelly. Now when he returns to Kings High School they how hard Collin has worked.

"Everyone back at Kings thinks it's pretty good. But it's all been about the preparation just like Coach Kelly has always said. I just do what ever I have to do for the team. What ever they need me to do I'm willing to do."

While those around him have gotten excited about all the Bearcats success, Collin hasn't taken things to the extremes.

"It doesn't really bother me as I just look at it as another week, and another game we've got to win. For me it's an everyday thing as you can't take any days off or you'll get left behind."

While Collin is living the life of a college student athlete, he hasn't always had the added bonuses that come with being a scholarship athlete. How much has changed since he earned a scholarship?

"I finally got a chance to move down here instead of having to commute to here everyday. I just went out there my first year and did what ever I could to turn the coaches' head. Now I've been rewarded for doing my job by getting a scholarship. I wait for the coaches to give me an assignment and I'm willing to step up to any challenge they give me."

For Collin McCafferty each game day is spent getting ready to fly down the field and knock the hell out of a member of an opposing team with reckless abandon. Off the field Collin McCafferty is a lot less reckless in the things he does.


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