Across college football, current and former walk-ons are starting for programs every Saturday. Walk-ons are consistently seen on video being given their scholarship with their teammates mobbing them in celebration, but their work often goes unseen by the outside world. They work day in and day out with their program. The early morning lifts, two-a-days, film sessions, team meetings; they are all part of it. A walk-on goes through the off-season and regular season the exact same way, except with one key component missing: a scholarship. While many players are now currently on scholarship, the hard-work and perseverance they displayed to get there shouldn’t be negated.
The College Football All Walk-On team features college football players who are current or former walk-ons and are making an extensive impact for their program.
College Football All Walk-On Team
Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma
The 2015 and 2016 Burlsworth Award winner, the honor given to the most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on, Baker Mayfield began his career at Texas Tech before transferring to fellow Big-12 school, Oklahoma. Mayfield has taken Norman by storm over the last two seasons as he beat out fellow quarterback Trevor Knight for the starting job last season and led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. He finished the 2015 season as First Team All Big-12 and a First Team All-American. In 2016, Mayfield led Oklahoma to an 11-2 record and first place in the Big-12. He threw for 3,965 yards while throwing for 40 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. He leads among qualified passers in completion percentage at 71.0 percent. The Oklahoma Sooners repeated as Big-12 champs, and Baker Mayfield led the seventh-ranked Sooners to a 35-19 win in the Sugar Bowl against the Auburn Tigers on January 2nd.
Luke Falk, Quarterback, Washington State
Although only quarterbacks typically would be picked, and Baker Mayfield is by far the best walk-on in the country, Luke Falk‘s stats can’t be ignored. Luke Falk is top five in the FBS in each of the four major passing statistical categories. He completed 443 passes on 633 attempts, while throwing for 4,295 yards and finding the end zone 37 times through the air. Falk is second behind Baker Mayfield among qualified passers for the highest completion percentage in the country at 70.0 percent.
Dare Ogunbowale, Running Back, Wisconsin
Coming to Wisconsin, Dare Ogunbowale walked onto the program as a defensive back. He transitioned to the running back position two weeks into the 2014 season and was given a scholarship prior to the 2015 season. In the 2016 season, Ogunbowale rushed for 506 yards on 91 attempts with five touchdowns. In addition, he hauled in 24 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown. For his career, he’s tallied 319 rushing attempts for 1,518 yards and 13 touchdowns. Out of the backfield, he’s caught 60 passes for 507 yards and two touchdowns.
Johnston White, Running Back, Arkansas State
Johnston White joined the Red Wolves program prior to the 2013 season. He’s been a Burlsworth Trophy nominee for every season since 2014. He came into the 2016 season having been voted Third Team Preseason All-Sun Belt and racked up 472 yards on 105 carries and five touchdowns. In his three years since redshirting in 2013, White has totaled 299 rushes for 1,600 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Mack Hollins, Wide Receiver, North Carolina
Mack Hollins joined the UNC program as a walk-on in 2012 and redshirted. Hollins was named the special teams captain for the Heels and contributed nine tackles and a fumble recovery in the 2013 season. Hollins would go on to make a name for himself during his sophomore season. He earned honorable mention All-ACC honors after completing the season with 35 catches to go along with 613 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He set the longest play by UNC in Kenan Stadium history with a 91-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marquise Williams against San Diego State.
Hollins’ role within the Tar Heel offense increased in 2015 as he hauled in 30 receptions for a team-high 745 yards and eight touchdowns. He led the nation in yards per reception at 24.8 and was named to the All-ACC third team.
Hollins’ senior campaign was cut short as he suffered a broken collarbone against Miami on a 49-yard reception. Through seven games, he hauled in 16 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns. He finished his career with 81 receptions to go along with 1,667 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.
Hunter Renfrow, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Hunter Renfrow joined the Clemson football program prior to the 2014 season as a walk-on. He redshirted in 2014 and earned a scholarship heading into the 2015 season. Renfrow busted onto the scene as a freshman with his two touchdowns and 88 yard receiving performance against Alabama in the National Championship. Renfrow finished fifth on the team in receptions with 33 and racked up 492 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
The 2016 season for Renfrow was full of ups and downs. In the first two games of the season, he hauled in two touchdowns passes and tallied 62 receiving yards. While he seemed to be off to a hot start, his season came to a halt as he suffered a broken bone in his hand against Troy on September 10th. He wouldn’t return to action until a month later when the Tigers faced NC State. Renfrow didn’t let the injury stop himself from performing at a high level. In the final nine games of the season, Renfrow recorded six games in which he tallied 40 or more receiving yards. He capped off the season with an epic 10 reception, 92 yard, two touchdown performance in the National Championship game against Alabama. This included the National Championship clinching touchdown reception from quarterback Deshaun Watson with just one second remaining.
Austin Carr, Wide Receiver, Northwestern
Coming out of high school, Austin Carr didn’t received a single scholarship offer. Despite other walk-on opportunities, Carr decided to walk-on at Northwestern. He joined the program in 2012 and was awarded a scholarship prior to the 2015 season. Austin Carr’s 2016 season was a breakout season for the redshirt senior wide receiver. Carr hauled in 90 receptions to go along with 1,247 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. In 12 of the 13 games for the Wildcats, Carr tallied 50 or more receiving yards. Of these 12 games, six saw Carr record over 100 receiving yards. Carr was a finalist for the 2016 Burlsworth Award and a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the best receiver in college football.
Chad Hansen, Wide Receiver, California
Chad Hansen transferred to California from Idaho State following his freshman season in 2013. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he had to sit out before playing at California. When he began his career at California, he was a walk-on. He had been told by an assistant at Arizona State that he wasn’t cut out to play in the PAC-12 or at the Power Five level. Hansen didn’t let that stop him.
In 2015, his first season with the Golden Bears, Hansen hauled in 19 passes for 249 yards receiving with one touchdown to compliment his stats.
The 2016 season for Hansen was a breakout one. Hansen earned first-team All-PAC 12 honors from the Associated Press and ESPN.com. He would finish the campaign with 92 receptions in addition to 1,249 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Hansen led the PAC-12 in both receptions and receiving yards while finishing fourth in touchdown receptions. Most impressive of all was doing so while missing two games in the 2016 season.
Against the rest of the wide receivers in the country, Hansen held his ground and more. He completed the season ranked third in receptions per game at 9.2, fourth in receiving yards per game with 124.6, and finished 11th in receptions with 92. He tallied seven contests in which he recorded over 100 receiving yards and six games with 10 receptions or more.
Following his breakout season, Hansen decide to forego his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL Draft. He finished his collegiate career with 1,999 receiving yards on 156 receptions and 15 touchdowns.
Anthony Miller, Wide Receiver, Memphis
Although adding five wide receivers to the team may be excessive, Anthony Miller deserves his spot on the team along with the four other receivers.
Anthony Miller joined the Memphis football program prior to the 2013 season. He would go on to redshirt and earn the Glenn Jones Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award for the 2013 season. Miller would not see any action during the 2014 season due to an injury that sidelined him for the year.
Miller saw his first action in a Memphis uniform in the 2015 season. He saw action in 12 games and recorded a reception in those 12 contests. Miller was third on the team in receptions with 47, second in yardage with 694, and first in touchdown receptions with five.
Miller burst onto the scene in 2016 for the Tigers. He recorded stats similar to some of the best and highly touted wide receivers in the country. Miller finished the campaign with 1,434 receiving yards with 95 receptions and 14 touchdowns. He was tenth in the country in receptions, ninth in yards, and tied for ninth in receiving touchdowns.
Troy Fumagalli, Tight End, Wisconsin
Troy Fumagalli joined the Wisconsin Badgers football program as a preferred walk-on prior to the 2013 season. He was one of 11 tight ends on the roster in the 2013 season and redshirted as a result.
In the 2014 season, Fumagalli appeared in 14 games while recording 14 catches for 187 yards. Fumagalli earned a scholarship prior to the 2015 season for the Badgers. He appeared in 11 games while hauling in 28 passes for 313 yards and one touchdown in the 2015 season. He was also a consensus All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection.
Fumagalli finished the 2016 campaign with his best season yet. He hauled in 47 passes for 580 yards and two touchdowns. For his career, he’s recorded 89 receptions to go along with 1,080 yards and three touchdowns.
Following the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2, 2017, Fumagalli was named the Offensive MVP for the game after he racked up 6 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Hayden Hurst, Tight End, South Carolina
Prior to the 2015 season, Hayden Hurst walked onto the South Carolina football team after after a stint as a professional baseball player in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization. He saw action as a true freshman, playing in 12 games and tallying eight catches for 106 yards.
Hurst was placed on scholarship in the spring of 2016 and had a successful season. He recorded 48 receptions for 616 yards and a touchdown.
In his career, he’s compiled 56 receptions for 722 yards and a touchdown.
Jeremy Macauley, Offensive Lineman, Nevada
Jeremy Macauley joined the Nevada football program before the 2012 season and redshirted his freshman year. Macauley was predicted to be a big part of the offensive line for the Wolfpack in 2013 until he suffered a season-ending knee injury before the Arizona game.
In his junior season in 2015, Macauley saw success out on the gridiron. He started 11 games on the season and helped the Wolfpack earn a winning record and gain a victory in the Arizona Bowl. Macauley played a vital role in Nevada having two running backs rushing for over 1,000 yards on the season.
The senior season for Jeremy Macauley saw him start all 12 contests and be nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy. He helped a Nevada rusher once again rush for over 1,000 yards and earned All-Mountain Honorable Mention.
Austin Albrecht, Offensive Lineman, Utah State
Prior to the 2012 season, Austin Albrecht joined the Utah State football program. He redshirted during his freshman year and did not see action during his freshman or redshirt freshman season.
In his redshirt sophomore campaign, Albrecht saw action in 14 games and recorded six knockdowns against New Mexico.
Albrecht’s junior season was a successful one. He saw action in all 13 games at both left tackle and right guard while earning All-Mountain West Honorable Mention. Albrecht appeared in all 12 games of his senior season, seeing playing time at left tackle and left guard. He once again earn All-Mountain West Honorable Mention and recorded a team-high 90 knockdowns.