The First Bank & Trust Friday Q&A: Walk-Ons, Key Positions, And More

Virginia Tech
Austin Cannon (52) is a recent walk-on contributor for Virginia Tech. (Jon Fleming)

1) Are we past the era in football when non-specialist walk-ons can become contributing players? This was prominent in the Beamer era at Virginia Tech. – delmarva hokie

Chris Coleman: It can happen. Just a few years ago, Austin Cannon was a contributor on the offensive line for the Hokies under Vance Vice. He played 471 snaps during his career with Virginia Tech, including 340 during the 2019 season, and he did a pretty solid job.

However, situations like that will be few and far between during the modern era. Thanks to the influx of summer camps and the advent of technology like Hudl, fewer players slip through the cracks these days.

I like to use my friend Danny Wheel as the ultimate example. Wheel started at defensive end for the Hokies in 1996 and 1997. He was a walk-on from Lafayette High School in Williamsburg. He wasn’t even an invited walk-on, either. Instead, he enrolled as a regular student, was in the Corps of Cadets, tried out for the team and was offered a roster spot. He eventually earned a scholarship.

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