With myriad posts lately about the transfer portal, who we aren't recruiting, who we are recruiting, offensive woes, the two-deep, etc., I wondered:
What is the purpose of a walk-on player? (related: why would a player be a walk-on?)
I see two (simplified) options to answering this:
1. Their purpose is to wallow in anonymity, helping the team prepare each week through participation on the scout team. They get access to team meals and resources and, against a clearly over-matched team at home, might get the chance to get on the field. They should accept this as their lot and enjoy the swag.
2. Their purpose is to help the team prepare each week through participation on the scout team and strive to prove they are better than any "ranking" or "projection" they may have had. When a player exceeds their perceived ability and competes on a level with the scholarship players, they have the opportunity to move up and become one of those scholarship players. These kids are betting on themselves every day.
Walk-ons can be both. A walk-on getting a scholarship is recognition of that work, skill, and growth. These kids should be commended. Having walk-ons given scholarships is NOT a sign of ineptitude.
For the most part, Dabo's boys have filled a niche - they have very sure hands, can catch and place a football, and know the game like a coach does. They are not as physically skilled as more natural athletes. BV's kids have a head for the ball, are way more athletic than most of us whining on the boards, and do a serviceable job. Tyler seems to be much more athletic than Jake and plays a position that utilizes that. They should not be given a scholarship just because they are coaches' kids, but neither should they be denied one just because they are coaches' kids.
Are we really arguing about the worthiness of kids who are usually quite a bit down on the depth chart and who are playing more right now because of almost 20% of the team being injured?
I admit, I'll never be an athlete and was never in a fraternity, but I do know that both keep an eye on the ol' GPA. Given our success with graduation rates and such, I'm leaning toward the whole team doing at least okay with grades.
But ask, what is the purpose of a scholarship? I assume it is to pay for educational expenses is it not? Is there some other purpose? When you are paying coaches millions of dollars a year it is obscene to then offer their kids scholarships. I spent most of my career as a corporate executive and I can tell you the mere appearance of impropriety is cancer on the organization. You do not ever sign a check to yourself (for expenses as an example).
I agree, the sons of coaches on the team today have been beneficial but that isn't the point. The coaches should gladly pay full tuition for the children.
Walk-on players are typically character guys. Their work ethic and enthusiasm can be contagious, and they can quietly hold others accountable by comparison. They are an important part of team chemistry.
1.With appreciation for Dabo's mandate to only offer high character young men, would it be nice to have to have 10-12 more high 3 to 4 star players on the team in place of family members and friends of the family who would be on the team regardless? 2. Has Will Swinney or Ajou gotten more snaps at WR this season? 3. How much competition and program quality is eliminated by having one to two levels of competent players at each position? 4. Dabo's player-model approach with 1-2 levels of competent players at each position has worked very well with healthy teams, the top DC in the country, and DW4 and TL16 being the best player in the country at the most important position. 5. This year's team has some recruiting misses at key positions. It happens. Clemson Tigers have had a great run. Reloading for 2022.