How to get a D1 scholarship without really trying Part 1

Stony Hooker, Features Editor

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“I just want to say thank you to my family over there; I mean everyone at this school has been so supportive of what I been doing…. And ugh I’ve decided that ugh I’m going to be playing football at the University of California.” This is a quote from a young high school senior named Kevin Hart committing to his D1 football scholarship at Cal over Oregon on National Signing Day. However, what the crowd in his small Nevada high school gymnasium didn’t know was that he made the whole thing up.

Kevin Hart grew up in Oakland, California, less than 50 miles away from the University of California. As a child he wanted to play Pop Warner youth football but did not qualify due to weight limit regulations. As an alternative, Hart had to settle for flag football. With what he lacked in athleticism, he made up for with knowledge of the game. Through watching numerous Pac 10 college football games, Hart gained an understanding of different blitzes, zones, and many other advanced concepts. Hart was reported to have a lively, joking personality and was well liked.

After a tragic loss of his beloved aunt to cancer and financial instability, Hart’s family moved to the outskirts of Reno to make their dollar stretch further. The change of scenery, separation from friends, and loss of his aunt caused Hart to go into a shell and not display his former personality. Starting high school as the new kid caused him to struggle with self-esteem, which was exacerbated due to his self-consciousness about his weight. Hart was already 300 pounds as a freshman.

Entering high school, Hart was finally able to suit up and play tackle football. His size and knowledge of the game allowed him to find a spot on the team easily. However, he did lack speed and was reported to have a bench press of only 95 pounds.

Hart’s coach was revered by the community as an all-around stand up human being, but not a good football coach. The team had no mandatory weight lifting program, which was a major need for Hart. Luckily, in his sophomore season, the school hired a new coach named Mark Hodges. Hodges had a pretty good resume that included two state titles as an assistant coach.

Discouraged by the lack of success from the former coach, the 6’4”; 325-pound Hart was playing baseball until Coach Hodges convinced him to come back to football. Hodges got the team on a weight lifting program and wanted to win. However, the team was caught having illegal Sunday practices and was required to forfeit every game that season. The team then dedicated the season to weight training and becoming better athletes. Hart was reported to have gone from barely being able to squat his own weight to over 500 pounds in one season. His potential was there but had yet to be unleashed. It was at this time that Hart began to display his former lively demeanor.

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How to get a D1 scholarship without really trying Part 1