Becoming a USC Walk-On: Still Not as Easy As You Thought

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Back in the spring, Garnet Report ran a story about a freshman named Zach Crowl who attempted to walk-on to the USC football team. Crowl, a former All-Region kicker at 3A North Myrtle Beach High School had his reasons for walking on: the chance to play for Steve Spurrier on a team that won a program-high 11 games last year, to hear 2001 from the sideline instead of the stands, and to get a chance to play in front of upwards of 80,000 screaming fans. What high school player hasn’t dreamed to play under the lights of a huge stadium on Saturdays?

Unfortunately, after all of the paperwork, hours of preparation, and the nerves and stress that went into the process, Crowl tore his groin kicking at his home field just days before the final tryout, ending his hopes of making the 2012 squad. Where we last left off, Crowl was going through rehab to repair his groin. He vowed to try out again, stating, “if you want something bad enough, you’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes to get it.”

Since then, Crowl’s life has taken a few turns. When he got back to North Myrtle during summer break, he realized that financing his rehab would be difficult. Because the quick-healing shots most college athletes get cost $300 and are not covered by insurance, Crowl elected to create his own rehabilitation plan this summer, using exercises recommended by his doctor. Following the advice of his mentor, Chicago Bears kicker Ryan Quigley, Crowl has taken the process slow, working with rubber bands, stretching, refraining from using weights until he knows his body can take it, ultimately deciding not to rush his rehab to try out again during the summer. “I’m still feeling some tugs and soreness every once in a while when I work out,” Crowl said. “So I just feel like I wouldn’t be able to give it one-hundred percent if I tried out this early.” After starting his training four weeks ago, Crowl plans to be fully healthy and ready by the walk-on deadline next spring.

Crowl KickingCrowl claims that though he wasn’t successful his first time, his attempt at walking on has taught him valuable life lessons, the main one being patience. “You can’t rush these things,” Crowl said about his process of returning to the football field. “Everything happens for a reason. You want to get healthy as soon as possible, but rushing things will only cause problems on the field and off.” Crowl says he also learned the value of persistence and hard work, lessons he says he’ll take into all walks of life as he begins the 2012 school year.

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photo credit: Catalina Gracia Saavedra via photo pin cc

Published by

Avery Wilks

Avery is Garnet Report's editor-in-chief, but he also doubles as a junior journalism major at USC. Avery also writes for, and his work has appeared in The Daily Gamecock, on and in the Chester News & Reporter. Avery enjoys sarcasm, playing guitar and underdog stories.