#004: The Walk-On Mentality
After emailing every school in the country about 100 times, I had absolutely zero interests from division 1 schools in football. My father, BIG Scott at the time, was the only reason I was able to do the things I did in college at the D1 level.
My dad and I started training together after my first year of tackle football. My first year I was told to play Center. Yes center, like snapping the ball.
* Fun Fact, my QB was Patrick Sandoval, standout LHP who is currently McShovin’ (inside joke) on the Angels*
I deserved to be a center that year. I was slow as shit! Seriously so SLOW! I had hands, but couldn’t run. So I told my dad I want to play RB or QB. He was honest as hell and said, “Kaleb you are too slow right now, BUT if you work really hard, you can be fast! You can play RB.”
We would watch YouTube videos on football & speed drills. Everything was self taught. My dad & I had no idea what we were doing, but this is where figure-it-out-iveness (there’s that word again) was introduced in my life.
We didn’t make excuses, we found a fucking way.
I worked my ass off that year. We were at Olive Wood Elementary school, every single day. Bringing my football cleats with me to baseball practice, so that after we could train. It was year round for me. It was just always my dad & I alone on that field, even after the street lights came on.
We would bump heads, yell at each other, threaten to leave or quit… but never meant it. He was building me into a man.
One day my best friend at the time, who was literally offered a D1 scholarship for football in 8th grade, on ESPN, & just a physical specimen of a human, walked by us laughing while my dad & I were training. I saw my friends laughing and got embarrassed. See I was never the best on any team ever. But there was something I was WILLING to do.
OUT WORK EVERY MF ON THAT FIELD, WEIGHT ROOM, OFFICE, DIDN’T MATTER. I WILL OUTLAST YOU.
My dad looked at me and said, “Kaleb, we have been out here every single day all summer. I promise you if you workout like this every day, you will be better than him.”
You guys don’t get it, this kid was unreal. 6’2” & a brick shit house at 12 years old and probably ran a 4.5 in 8th grade.
I replied to my dad & said, “I don’t get it! He never trains and he is so good.”
My dad told me something that instilled the Walk-On Mentality in me since that day. He said, “Kaleb, it will never be easy for you, EVER. You are going to have to work harder than everyone. Do all the extra work, workouts, reps, show up earlier, leave later, it’s not fair, BUT life isn’t fair. But I promise you, it’ll pay off.”
From that day forward I became obsessed.
My senior year it came full circle. I lined up in the slot, as my ex best friend lined up to guard me 1 on 1. I was confident. Not because of anything other than my preparation for this exact moment. All the hours I’ve put in since that day at the park. Corner route, wide open, first down. My friend later told me that he went to the sidelines after that play and said, “I can’t guard Kaleb.”
Fast forward to emailing every school in the country and getting almost no replies. If I got a reply it said pretty much, thanks but no thanks & good luck.
It’s spring of my senior year of high school. I have some interests for baseball from some D1 schools as a LHP. But football I had nothing! My only D1 option was accepting a scholarship to the University of Hawai’i for baseball & waking on for football (which is an amazing opportunity) but I really wanted to play football. When I talked to the WR coach at that time he told me, “I guess you can walk on, but we don’t really need you”
At this point in my life, I’ve woken up every morning with Luke at 5 am to go workout. Just because I wanted to get the ‘quiet edge.’ I worked my ass off, put up ridiculous #’s (seriously go check them), and still just wasn’t wanted…
I started to feel sorry for myself.
As I was walking out the door to head to a baseball game that spring, my dad said, “Wait! We haven’t emailed the Washington State Special Team Coordinator, Eric Mele…”
I said, “Fuck it, no one is replying, I guarantee he won’t either,” as I walked out closing the door behind me.
After my baseball game, (I shoved) I get a call from a New Jersey area code.
“Hello, Kaleb? This is coach Mele from Washington State.
What? I can’t spoil my whole journey in my second blog! You’re gonna have to stay tuned to see how it all turned out.