August 26, 2011

Walk-on CB earns scholarship

Texas Tech cornerback Sawyer Vest had a perfect Friday.

It culminated when he learned he would be on the nightly Lubbock newscasts as they shared his great news. Earlier Friday it was announced Vest, a walk-on, had proven himself worthy of a full-ride football scholarship.

"First of all I'd like to thank God for putting me here and giving me the opportunity," Vest said after Friday's practice. "I've had great support through my family and friends and coach (Tommy) Tuberville and them. I got to opportunity to walk on the team and they saw that I could be an asset and gave me a scholarship so I'm very thankful for all of that and recognizing that I could be that type of player."

Vest, a five-foot-10, 182-pound senior by college credit hours and former two-way standout at Childress (Texas) High School, has been on the Red Raider roster for two seasons as a scout team member.

At times this fall Vest has looked like the No. 2 cornerback opposite Tre' Porter. At worst, he's looked like he's in position to be in the two-deep.

The senior said he's put a lot of work into the program and to earn a full ride.

"I'm not (above) any guy that's out here," Vest said. "Everybody is working hard so I just come out and try to do my part every day. Try to get better and these guys make you better as well as you trying to make them look better. It's a give-and-take deal here and I feel like we're all here to help each other and get better that way."

For two seasons, Vest and his family have paid for the walk-on to get beat around by the first and second team offenses and now the financial burden is off of them.

"I would have to say I was pretty excited but I guess they were really excited for me as far as that goes because they know where I've been and the obstacles I've overcome to get the scholarship and stay on the team and all that," Vest said. "It hasn't been real easy but it's been real fun and something that I've always loved to do.

"So in that case, it wasn't that hard to be out here and play every day. It's something a lot of kids wish they could do so I'm very fortunate for that. But yeah, my family is very excited for me and I'm glad to get that opportunity and they gave me that."

Back to football itself, Vest said the Red Raider defense is ready to line up against Texas State on Sept. 3. But it will be particularly special for him to contribute Saturdays in front of 60,000-plus people.

"It's going to be my first year to actually step on the field," he said. "I'm a walk-on, I've been here for a while and never gotten to play. I'm fortunate enough to be eligible this year. Camp's always a grind and you're going up against your teammates and as it starts winding down you're really ready to hit somebody else.

"Going against Texas State, I'm excited and ready to get after it."

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