FLORENCE, Ala. - Tuesday was a special day at the University of North Alabama's football practice.
An announcement during practice just goes to show that hard work and perseverance do pay off, as two athletes were recognized for their efforts.
"Not only will we get special treatment on the road, I'll add a little bit something to the defense, possibly the way we eat and we'll add extra food. So how about this. How about for these two guys we give them a scholarship?" asked Coach Chris Willis.
The two players who were awarded scholarships are senior tight end Marcus Robinson and junior safety D'Andre Hart. Both have incredible stories about how they got to where they are now. Coach Willis shared Hart's story with the team shortly after surprising him with a scholarship.
"D'Andre Hart we've had them tryouts we've had them tryouts you've seen in the past, 60 dollars to try out," recalled Coach Willis. "He shows up to one of them. Okay, pays 60-65 dollars to try out for the football team. Alright, he makes the team. But he had to go through a whole year of not getting anything paid for. And then you look up this year and he's in the midst of the safeties. He's traveling with the safeties. Congratulations D'Andre."
When we asked Hart how he felt, he said he was "just excited man! You know, been working hard since the spring and just been putting in work over time. Finally came, hard work finally paid off. You know, that's just always the person I've been. I've never had to take the easy route. I've always had to take the hard route. My route's not the same as everyone else so I just keep pushing. I got a game ready might and I'm ready to go on and attack it."
Senior Marcus Robinson transferred from Northeast Mississippi Community College 2 years ago. Since then, he's been fighting to make the team. Well, this summer he finally got the thumbs up.
"I was just talking to my friend Damien yesterday about how was I going to pay for school. My mom and I had been thinking what do we have to do this year to just pay for it and today was just a blessing," said Robinson. "UNA has always been a family environment for me and just not giving up on them I had to fight back and do whatever it took to get back on the team because I just missed it so much."
Robinson's really earning his spot on the roster. This season he's going to be playing both sides of the ball as a tight end and defensive end. UNA's first test of the season is coming up this Saturday as the Lions take on Southern Utah in Cedar City!