Eight Walk-Ons Return From 2005 Football Team

In addition to coping with the time demands, the academic and financial pressures, in some programs the walk-on has to deal with the notion that he's just a practice body, there to run plays on the scout team, throw passes against the defense, or cover the offense's receivers in skeleton drills.

The term walk-on is the common-place description for a member of an athletic team wthout an athletic scholarship. Some of these players may be 'recruited', some are not. But either way the life of a walk-on in a college football program is neither a long nor an easy one.

It's no wonder that the career of a non-scholarship football player is usually short - they get to put in the same long, grueling hours in the regular season, in spring practice, and in off-season conditioning as the player on scholarship, and are graciously afforded the privilege of paying the bills.

In addition to coping with the time demands, the academic and financial pressures, in some programs the walk-on has to deal with the notion that he's just a practice body, there to run plays on the scout team, throw passes against the defense, or cover the offense's receivers in skeleton drills. Of course, the grade point average the walk-on contributes to the team is very welcome.

As times get tough and as the pressure to keep grades up, and sometimes the need to get a job, increases the demands on the walk-on players time, their football career usually falls by the wayside. Given the factors involved, it's no wonder that few walk-ons complete their athletic eligibility.

And the rewards are meagre: mainly the sense of being a member of a team, as very few walk-ons ever see the field on game day, very few get a place in the regular game rotation, even fewer earn the ultimate validation for a walk-on - an athletic scholarship.

The walk ons who stuck on the Tulane team in 2005 after Katrina are the kind of kids, athletically talented or not, that you want on your football team.

In tonight's article we'll take a look at the walk-ons who appeared on the Tulane depth chart released at the end of spring practice.

It's a short list, but an interesting one.

Evan Smith WR 5-8 172, Jr.
Heading into his third season with the Green Wave, Evan has yet to see the playing field in a regular season game.

Ian Miller FB 6-0, 253 Sr.-R
Returning for his fifth season as a Greenie, Ian is listed as the backup at fullback as of the end of spring practice. Played in four ball games in 2004, but didn't see the field in 2005. Had 1 carry for 6 yards in 2004.

Taylor Bertin DE 6-2, 255 Sr.-R
A fifth-year senior and a protege of the late State Senator John Hainkel, Taylor got a few snaps in three regular season games in 2004, and played in 1 game in 2005. Has four career tackles.

O'Lindsey Brown CB 5-10 189 Jr.
Entering his third season with the Green Wave, O'Lindsey finally got on the field on special teams in two-late season ball games as a sophomore in 2005. Made one tackle. Third on the depth chart at one corner behind Route and Harding.

David Skehan SS 6-0, 196 Jr.
Enters his third season with the Green Wave after playing in all 11 games in 2005, mainly on special teams, and making 5 tackles. Is listed as the backup strong safety on the post-spring depth chart.

Christian Okoye SS 6-1, 185 Fr.-R
Redshirted as a true freshman in 2005. The depth chart indicates that he's behind Goosby, Skehan, and Sonnier at strong safety.

Louis Thomas FS 5-11, 180 Jr.-R
Played in 10 games last season on special teams and made 1 tackle. Listed as the backup free safety after spring practice. A transfer from Louisiana-Monroe, Louis redshirted in his first season as a Greenie in 2004.

Michael Sager 5-8, 172 Sr.
Only game action came against Navy in 2004, when he attempted and missed a field goal.

For the walk-on, playing time in an actual live game situation is hard to come by. Every carry, every tackle - probably every snap - belong to the memories of a lifetime. But the memories that walk-ons earn are nothing when balanced against the entirety of the contributions they make to a football team.


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