Walk-on Austin Weber named captain of Notre Dame team
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Rudy Ruettiger's story has served as inspiration to would-be football players and fans for decades. One Notre Dame walk-on, Austin Webster, took Rudy's dream to another level. He not only earned a scholarship, but made history along the way.
"When he put my name up there and my jersey it was surreal. I knew what that meant and it was just an unbelievable moment and I was just full of emotion and it was great, it really was amazing," Webster said.
The journey from walk-on to scholarship athlete at Notre Dame is anything but easy.
"Your first thoughts are 'I just want to make an impression.' You want to make it known that you're here to make an impact on the team. But you also realize that it's going to take a long time to just really get that, so you have to work really hard every day and just keep doing what you do," Webster said.
For Webster, a senior, the journey to that locker has never been about taking the easy route.
Coming out of Windward High School in California, Webster played receiver, defensive back and special teams - any place he was needed.
He took that same mind set to Notre Dame and never gave up.
"It's definitely not easy, there are definitely moments when you question yourself and think 'is this the thing for me? Is this all worth it?' And got my mindset, yeah it might be difficult, it might be hard but just realize that even if I don't get a chance, I'm learning valuable skills that will help me for the rest of my life," Webster said.
That attitude made an impression with coaches at Notre Dame.
Head Coach Brian Kelly was so impressed, he made an almost unheard of announcement. Webster became the first walk-on to be named a captain.
"It was definitely completely unexpected and I didn't really know how to feel at first, just because as a walk-on, that's not necessarily the next step that you think of 'Oh I can't wait to be captain,' right? For most guys it's 'I can't wait to get on the field to play and hopefully earn a scholarship one day.' Of course, you have dreams of being a captain one day but that was mostly dreams at that point, I really didn't consider that an option," Webster said.
Now Webster takes his own spot in Notre Dame history.