Defying the Odds to Become that 1 in 100 Success Story

Defying the Odds to Become that 1 in 100 Success Story


Nick Andersen is a quiet unassuming 18-year-old freshman at Wake Forest University. If you saw him walking the campus, you would probably guess he was on the chess club or played the saxophone in the band. He’s not real big. He was offered three scholarships to play football at smaller schools, but he just wasn’t enthused. Andersen wanted to play ACC football. The problem, of course, was that no ACC team offered him a scholarship. Wake Forest was impressed, but not enough to offer him a scholarship. So, they offered him “preferred walk-on” status. This means he gets to practice and play with the team, but he doesn’t get any financial assistance to play football.

Most walk-ons don’t see playing time and they certainly don’t see playing time as a freshman. However, on Saturday against ranked Virginia Tech, Andersen made his second start as a defensive back. And he made the most of it.  He made three interceptions and had 11 tackles. Those are the kind of stats that look outstanding for a defensive player at the end of the season, but Andersen had these stats in the second game of his career.

After the game, his teammates hoisted him on their shoulders and began chanting, “Scholarship…scholarship.” And, during the post-game press conference, Coach Dave Clawson acknowledged that a scholarship will be coming his way in a couple of months.
This made his teammates happy.  “Nick, that’s my homeboy. He’s a hell of a player. Walk-on but we treat him like a starter, we treat him like a scholarship player. If anybody on the team deserves a scholarship on the roster, it’s Nick,” redshirt senior Boogie Basham said. “He is an absolute dog. For him to be a walk-on on a Division-I level and do what he did these last couple of games, especially today, that just shows you that if you put in the time and dedication into anything, you can make anything happen,” said senior Sulaiman Kamara.
Joe’s Perspective: I love these stories. I love hearing about the little guy who believes in himself and sets out to prove himself. Nothing was promised or given to him, he just went out and earned it. Please keep in mind, for every 1 Nick Andersen out there, there are 50-100 stories of walk-ons who never receive playing time. No doubt, this is a long-shot story. However, for me, I say, who cares. Sometimes you just have to have the courage to go after something that matters to you. Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself so much that you are willing to defy all the odds. That’s how people succeed. No one ever became a star player or CEO or scientist or successful entrepreneur without going after it. To you, I say go after it.

Your Turn: Do you have the courage necessary to go after your your big goals? Explain.

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    1. I agree with this because he didn’t let the walk on student get into his head and played really well and got the scholarship

    2. I think it is very important to have courage especially in yourself to go after big goals because no one will stop you from getting a goal but you !

    1. Without effort and perseverance you won’t make it far, to accomplish your goals you must give it more effort than the guy next to you

  1. I felt it was inspiring as it shows anyone can accomplish what they put there heart and soul into. I love that he was so humble and devoted to the team even though he didn’t originally have a scholarship, it truly demonstrated his love for the game.

  2. I thought he believed and knew he could reach his goal. He deserved more than what they originally credited him of and he proved them wrong.

  3. Going after your goals isn’t hard, achieving them is where hard work comes in. Nick Anderson had scholarships to other schools, yet he did not settle for less. Success is not always a strait path, and this story proves that.

  4. I don’t know if I would take such the risk he did by not going to the colleges that offered him scholarships I would like to think I have that courage idk if I actually do.

  5. I don’t think I would have the courage to what he did. It was incredibly risky but I am happy that he was able to follow his dreams.

  6. I like to think that I have the courage to go after my big goals like that, but it’s tough to say because it can be really risky.

  7. I’m not sure if I would have gone to a college that didn’t offer me a scholarship. I don’t think I’ve seen someone that has went to play and not have a scholarship

  8. Anyone can keep pushing themselves and doing the best thing for the situation, if you work hard enough you’ll be able to accomplish an assortment of things.

  9. I have the determination to accomplish my goals. I’ve worked hard and accomplished others in my past. If I put that say work and apply it to my current goals I believe I can accomplish them.

  10. It’s impressive that he was able to put in the work to get playing time despite being a walk on. He was still able to get what he wanted.

  11. I can’t tell you if I have the courage to go after my big goals or not, because I am afraid of failure. So it probably depends on how much of a risk it will be.

  12. These kind of stories especially athletes really make you wonder is the work your during getting you to where you wanna be or if the sport your in is what you truly want to do with yourself

  13. i would go for my big goals but not sure, I would want to have goals to push myself to achieve big things like he did

  14. The only way to be better than you competition is to make sure there is never a time where they are working when you aren’t.

  15. Yes I have the courage necessary to go after my big goals. I have the courage because I am very determined and goal driven. I know that I have to work really hard to accomplish my goals, but it will all be worth it in the end.

  16. I like hearing this story because the kid was an underdog. I think I have some courage to get my goals but maybe not all the way there yet.

  17. I think that it is hard to have that much courage, but that it is 100% possible. I feel like if I really set my mind to it, I have the courage to get to the places I want to be someday and that it will take a lot of hard work but will be worth it in the end.

  18. I think I have the courage to go after my big goals. I think if I want something enough I will do everything in my power to make it happen. I also think that if I want to get where I want in life when I’m older then that courage is going to be vital.

  19. I absolutely think courage is necessary to go after your goals. You won’t get anything done if you’re scared to try something now. Courage is pushing forward and fear hold you back.

  20. I think I do have the courage because if I want something I am very determined and will work super hard to get it no matter what obstacles I face.

  21. I think I have the courage to because I am always used to being an underdog of some sort. I think this gives me great courage and the ability to do something special.

  22. I don’t know if I have the courage to go after my goals. It’s a terrifying thing do you have a pipe dream you don’t think you can achieve. I’m trying to push myself towards my goal every day, but when I still don’t think I have a chance at achieving my dreams, it becomes harder to give my 100% the next day and the day after that.

  23. Yes I have courage and yes I have a motivation, and yes I have strength. It’s hard though when your standing alone. We are always learning and growing. There is no such thing as mastering cause we are always continuing to set goals and complete them. I am willing to take any leap to get where I want to be

  24. I believe that you have to have courage to achieve your goals in life but some people in life like to break you down and make you believe that your not able to do your goals but you should always try to stick around the people who help you in life

  25. I believe that courage can take you a long way. If you have courage you can almost achieve anything you put your mind to. I have courage and motivation to achieve my goals, but it’s hard when adversity hits but you have to push through and keep working.

  26. This blog is very inspiring and gives hope to other hard working athletes. Although not many people had faith in him, he worked hard and persevered to reach his goals despite others doubts.

  27. This story shows integrity by a boy named Nick, getting put on a walk-on to see if he was good enough for a scholarship at a bigger university for football. He stood by what he did best and knew his morals as he did to show how good of a player he could be. He did this and passed the test, getting that scholarship.

  28. This story shows that it’s important to have confidence in yourself and to push yourself ahead. Having courage is critical for determining your future and insuring your goals. I think self-doubt is the main thing holding people back and which is also something people need to see past.