Dabo Swinney's message for every walk-on player

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Saturday April 16, 2016

Dabo Swinney always says he got the Clemson head coaching job because prepared for an opportunity he didn’t know would ever come, and that’s his message for walk-ons.

In August 2015, Swinney surprised punter Andy Teasdall and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow with scholarships. Renfrow would end up with 33 catches and five TD catches in 2015, including three TD’s in two College Football Playoff games. In 2016, he caught the national-championship-winning touchdown.

“Just so you know, a lot of you guys, you’re on scholarship, and sometimes you don’t appreciate that, because you ain’t stroking them checks,” Swinney told the team in summer 2015. “We love all you guys, and it’s always a blessing when I get a chance to reward a guy. This guy right here (Teasdall) just came out to a spring tryout. ‘Yeah, he might have a chance.’

“All he did was come out and work and work and work and prepare. He was preparing for an opportunity he didn’t know he’d ever get. Isn’t that one of the lessons we talk about? Prepare for your opportunity, even if it never comes. Better to be prepared without an opportunity than to not be prepared with one. What a great lesson. This boy right here has earned it. In the bowl game, he stepped up. He was awesome this spring. I’m proud of you, man.”

Swinney had the same message for Renfrow.

“Hunter is a great example not to judge a book by its cover, because he damn sure don’t look like a football player,” Swinney joked. “I’m just saying like it is. But this boy can ball. He’s earned everybody’s respect and has a bright future. That’s only good for one year. Y’all have to make good every year. You have to earn it every year. But I’m really happy for you two guys.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.