As a walk-on you’re not working for a scholarship. You’re working to compete for a chance to play. You do it for the love of the game.
2009: Walked-on to the Hoosier baseball team; pitcher. Did not play football
2010: Walked-on football team, appeared in all 12 games, started 4 of the last 5, six time special teams player of the week,
Member of the team’s One-Play Warrior club (special teams player of the year)
2011: Starting Cornerback. Awarded a scholarship
When Greg graduated from high school he was focused on baseball. He walked-on to the Hoosier baseball team. The baseball team entered a team into the university intramural flag football tournament. Head Baseball Coach Tracy Smith was their quarterback. Witnessing Greg’s tremendous football skill and ability Coach Smith asked Greg if he had considered playing football for the Hoosiers. Greg decided to talk with Coach Lynch (former head football coach). Greg joined the football team with the blessing of Coach Smith and Coach Lynch.
WillofaChampion: Were any colleges interested in you for football?
Greg: A few division III schools showed interest. Wabash College wanted me for both football and baseball. But I wanted to concentrate on one sport. At that time it was baseball. Now that I’ve switched to football, I am no longer playing baseball.
WillofaChampion: Has your athleticism developed that much since joining IU, or did football coaches just not notice?
Greg: Maybe a combination of both. In high school I played football, basketball, and baseball. I didn’t focus on just one sport. I felt like I had the athletic ability to play division I athletics. Now that I am focused on one sport my coaches are helping me understand how to better use my skills and ability for football. That has made me a better athlete.
WillofaChampion: What has been one of your greatest challenges as a walk-on?
Greg: The consistency of hard work; giving it your all every day. Scholarship players give their all too; so a walk-on has to do a little more. As a walk-on you’re not working for a scholarship. You’re working to compete for a chance to play. You do it for the love of the game. That is why I respect walk-ons.
WillofaChampion: Do you have to spend extra time running, practicing, or lifting?
Greg: I think any walk-on has to do that. You want to stand out and work your way up. So that means you spend time after practice working. You also have to get on the scout teams and show what you can do against the first and second team.
WillofaChampion: Do you have to be more mentally tough as a walk-on?
Greg: I think you do. Scholarship guys don’t have the pressure that comes from not having a scholarship. Also a walk-on has the pressure of not making any mistakes when given the opportunity to perform. Because you’re trying to prove you can perform at the highest level, so you don’t want to make a mistake.
WillofaChampion: How did your teammates receive you?
Greg: When I first walked-on I was on special teams. I worked hard and made some guys not look good. As I worked my way up the depth chart they started respecting me. We all care about each other and respect one another. Walk-on or not, you love your teammates. A scholarship doesn’t get in the way of that.
WillofaChampion: How did your coaches receive you?
Greg: I actually grew-up with the Lynch family. I’ve known Coach Lynch a long time. But I had to earn everything. I had to work my way up. I had to earn their respect. As I proved myself they moved me up the depth chart.
WillofaChampion: When you’ve gone through challenging times, who do you talk with to encourage you?
Greg: My family and Coach Wilson (Indiana Head Football Coach) have been there to encourage me and support me.
WillofaChampion: What was it like the day you found out you got a scholarship?
Greg: We were working out and coached asked me to come to his office when we were finished. When I got there he offered me the scholarship. I was not expecting it. I am very thankful for it!
WillofaChampion: Other high school athletes reading this article may be considering walking-on, what advice do you have for them?
Greg: They should go for it. You never know what will happen until you give it your best shot.
After two games Greg leads the defense in interceptions with two. He is third in tackles with 9 solo and 7 assist.
Interview: September 12, 2011