Every year, the Texas Longhorns award scholarships to at least one walk-on player. This year, suddenly tech-savvy Mack Brown released the news via Twitter early Sunday evening:
Just announced to team that walk-on snapper Nate Boyer & holder Cade McCrary were awarded scholarships for season. Great kids, well deserved— Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) August 26, 2012
Normally, the scholarships go to seniors, but Boyer is listed as a redshirt sophomore on the roster, while McCrary is a junior.
The 5-11, 190-pound Boyer lost out on the starting deep snapper job to freshman Kyle Ashby on the initial depth chart this fall, but has one of the most remarkable stories for a Texas walk-on this side of former Marine Ahmard Hall, who has had a long NFL career since playing on the 2005 national championship team.
After 9-11, Boyer enlisted in the Army, where he spent nine years serving in a variety of locations across the world as a Special Forces Green Beret, earning a Bronze Star in Iraq. On MB-TF, Boyer lists his sports hero as Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals star who died from friendly fire in Afghanistan.
Remarkably enough, Boyer's high school in California didn't have a football team, so he had never played prior to joining the Longhorns.
Fozzy Whittaker shared his thoughts on Boyer two years ago:
Having somebody of character and leadership as him provides us with inspiration and a sense of gratitude for what they do for us overseas and in this country as well.
The story for McCrary isn't quite as unique, but he has been a valuable contributor as the holder for the last two seasons, replacing Sherrod Harris when the former quarterback opted to give up his final year of eligibility to focus on school and his young child. In the two years he's held on field goals and extra points, McCrary has handled every snap cleanly.
Son of former defensive ends coach Hardee McCrary, the younger McCrary was a major reason why departed quarterback Garrett Gilbert became a Longhorn fan early in life after moving to the Austin area when his father completed his NFL career.
A star receiver at Lake Travis with Gilbert, McCrary racked up 1,800 yards receiving as a senior, including 28 touchdowns. Eye-opening numbers in that high-flying Cavalier offense orchestrated by current Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
It's not clear if both will remain on scholarship for the rest of their Texas careers.