DENTON, Texas - All the hard work has paid off for North Texas wide receivers Darnell Smith and Lynrick Pleasant, they are walk-on's no more. Head coach Dan McCarney awarded both players scholarships last night for the 2012 season. The journey for both players wasn't easy.
"This is a dream come true for me," said Pleasant.
After suffering knee and back injuries coming out of high school, Pleasant didn't have many opportunities to play college football. He bounced around from Louisiana College in 2009 to Lamar in 2010 before arriving at North Texas.
"When I got to Louisiana, the competition wasn't really that good, and the environment at Lamar wasn't a good one either," he said. "Then when I saw when Coach McCarney was hired, I made it a mission to talk with him and he told me about the walk-on program and what I had to do."
Pleasant did just that. In the spring he caught the coach's eye and his rise continued into the fall camp this season.
"You're too slow," said Smith. That's what Darnell Smith heard from his coach at Trinity Valley Community College in his freshman year. Smith, a South Garland High School product, began his college football journey at TVCC. After a year and being told he's too slow, Smith and a friend decided to head to Iowa.
No scholarship was involved though. Smith had to try out first and then walk-on at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa. Which he did successfully, ending the year with 34 catches and 507 yards. Through another friend, Smith got in contact with North Texas offensive line coach Mike Simmonds. The rest is walk-on history.
"It's been an exciting journey and I feel like I have a lot more to do to prove myself to people," Smith said. "I want to do my part and help this team, because this team is my family."