From Walk-on To Scholarship, Senior Trey Enterline's Story
By: Luke Della
DENTON -- A few weeks before the North Texas 2016 season opener, special teams coordinator Tommy Perry brought together his group in a meeting room. As the players sat, Perry, like every one of their coaches before him,harped on work ethic in his deep, raspy voice.
When Perry finished digging into his team, he bridged his speech by turning to his senior deep snapper Trey Enterline and surprised everyone by announcing that the then walk-on was now on scholarship.
"It was really special to have that moment with my brothers, and then immediately call my mom and dad afterwards and tell them," Enterline said. "Two years ago, this was far from my mind."
The Arlington native started his college career at Division III Texas Lutheran in 2012 as a tight end. Despite scoring two touchdowns in his first collegiate game, the 6-foot-4 Enterline had only six career catches by the middle of his sophomore season. His football career hit an all-time low that year when a broken leg ended his season.
As his 2013 season came to an end, it seemed so had his football career. Unhappy with Division III, Enterline left Texas Lutheran and headed to Denton solely as a student in the fall of 2014. However, the itch to prove to himself that he could play at the highest level still burned inside him.
"I knew I could play Division I," Enterline said. "I just needed that push from my mom and dad."
After wistfully watching the 2014 Mean Green season from the stands, Enterline's parents encouraged him to give football one more shot. Trusting their intuition, Enterline tried out for the North Texas football team in the spring of 2014 -- a year and a half removed from breaking his leg. Along with his parents, Enterline's Martin High School coach, Bob Wager, gave his former player support as well by giving his good friend Perry a call.
Perry, impressed with Enterline's work-ethic and support from Wager, gave Enterline a spot on the team, though, it was apparent tight end wasn't going to be where he was playing, Perry informed Enterline he would be tried at deep snapper.
"I had played deep snapper a little bit in high school, but it had always been secondary to everything else," Enterline said. "But it didn't change how I felt. I understood the situation."
Although he had finally made the Division I Mean Green team, the starter's job was still going to take some work as he sat behind two scholarship snappers. Humbled to just be able to wear the uniform, the North Texas third-string walk-on long snapper began the process of learning a new position and dedicating his time to the game.
"He's never once complained, moaned or shown any signs of frustration," Perry said. "He's done everything that's been asked of him and has been a great representative of the team."
While the 2015 season progressed, Enterline's position on the depth chart did as well. By the middle of the season, Enterline found himself sitting in second. Then, just days before their game at Tennessee, Enterline got the news he'd been named the starter.
As Enterline jogged into Tennessee's Neyland Stadium, he couldn't help but look around. The former Texas Lutheran tight end that once called 3,500-seat Bulldog Stadium his college home was about to be playing in front of 96,197 as a starter.
"I was so nervous," Enterline said. "I couldn't sleep or eat the night before."
Enterline kept his starting job through the end of the season, and remembers leaving Apogee Stadium against their final opponent, UTEP, thinking about how far he's come and how much further he could go with another year left.
When spring practice began again in 2016, now under a new head coach, Enterline sat in team meetings as the only returning deep snapper. He listened to his newly hired head coach, Seth Littrell, speak about being selfless, tough and disciplined.
"I knew if I kept doing the things that got me here I could go far and make an impact," Enterline said.
Soon after that meeting, Perry approached Enterline about possibly putting him on scholarship. With that in the back of his mind, Enterline decided to go all in on his final season.
"One thing that's always stood out to me about him has been his relationship with the other specialists and long snappers," Perry said. "He's a very important person to them."
A week into the 2016 fall camp, and still no scholarship to his name, Enterline nearly lost it all. While running to make a tackle during a punt drill, Enterline hurt his knee. From laying on the ground in pain. To being helped off the field by team trainers and placed on the medical table to be examined, by his side the whole way with concerned looks on their faces were underclassmen long snappers Kel Straubmueller and Tim Ursery.
"He's been nothing less than a mentor to me," Straubmueller said. "He's been an amazing friend and a brother to me. And that's refreshing when you both play the same position."
The injury would later be determined to be not as serious as first thought but still left Enterline in a sour mood. The next day, though, his mood changed when Perry announced in the position meeting that Enterline was on scholarship.
"Us coaches dog these men all the time and constantly are asking stuff from them and are always heat on their backs. It felt good to do something like that for a guy who absolutely deserves it," Perry said. "It left a warm fuzzy feeling in me for about 30 minutes."
Two weeks later, the now scholarship Division I athlete stood on Apogee's field with his teammates all wearing a team shirt that read "Selfless-Tough-Discipline."
"I've been blessed with so much," Enterline said. "But this scholarship can be taken away just as easily as it was given. So I just want to be the best person, teammate and player I can be. The last few years have shown me if I focus on that good things will happen."