When Trevor Sweeney recovered an onside kick during practice, it probably felt like any other day for the Western Michigan University walk-on, a valuable member of the Broncos special teams unit.
Little did he know that the kick was an elaborate setup by his coaches and teammates, and the ball had something very special attached: a letter formally offering him a scholarship.
In a video the team posted to YouTube, Sweeney can be seen chasing down the onside kick, his teammates letting him fall on the ball even after an errant bounce.
Then, when he opens the letter, his teammates mob him, lifting him onto their shoulders in a scene straight out of Rudy.
According to Michigan Live, Sweeney faced a long road to a scholarship. The five-foot-eight-inch, 175-pounder turned down offers from Division II schools where he was much more likely to play in favor of WMU, the team he’s been a fan of since childhood.
Over three years, Sweeney went from the scout team to special teams to the player responsible for signaling offensive plays from the sideline, a rise Coach P.J. Fleck attributes to Sweeney’s hard work.
“There’s not a better reflection of our program … than Trevor Sweeney,” Fleck told Michigan Live. “It’s that simple. He shows it every single day and he’s consistent. He’s way past deserving of this.”
Sweeney told Michigan Live that joining WMU had nothing to do with earning a free ride—it was all about putting the team first.
“I just wanted to play,” he said. “The biggest thing for me was about the team. How could I help the team out? I started on the scout team and now I’m doing the play signals for offense. If it’s being a special teams leader, that’s fine. I’ll be that guy.”