The tale of Rudy at Notre Dame was made for Hollywood. Perhaps the sequel is better suited for a Vegas show on the strip. UNLV senior Jonathon James is serving as a reminder to all Rebels players this spring just what hard work can lead to.
You will not find James listed on the depth chart but you will find him on the team’s spring roster, without a number. Although his chances may be limited t contribute on the field, his role on the team is a special one. He made the team as a walk-on as a freshman, receiving the last roster spot on the 105-man roster allowed by the NCAA. He wears a t-shirt with the number 105 on it every day in practice, and he does so proudly. Instead of preparing for a role on game days, James goes through the rigors of practice just like every player and takes it upon himself to help get younger players in the right mindset and understand the program.
“It’s all about work ethic and looking past the naysayers,” James said in a profile story published by The Las Vegas Sun. “I had a coach in high school who told me I’m too short to play receiver. How many years later, I’m playing at the Division I level. Whether I had just one catch for 1 yard, I still made it.”
James’s one catch for one yard came in a 2011 game against Hawaii. It is possible that will be his only contributions on the stat line for his collegiate career, although if he continues to stay in good shape it would be nice to see him get a chance to get some playing time this season. Few players have earned that opportunity as much as James has.
“Jonathon is a great guy, great kid,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said, “the kind of guy you want on your team.”
College football needs more positive stories like this. Be sure to read James’s story via The Las Vegas Sun.
Photo credit: UNLV Athletics