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South Carolina Football: Watch Gamecock walk-on get put on scholarship

South Carolina Football: Watch Gamecock walk-on get put on scholarship

South Carolina football, like most Power-5 programs, has a number of walk-ons on the roster. These players practice, lift weights, watch film, and prepare just like a scholarship player. The difference? They pay their entire way to go to school and receive no money from the football program to help with tuition.

Because of this, some of the best moments in college football away from the games themselves are the moments when these walk-ons have their lives changed forever and are put on scholarship.

On Friday, Gamecock defensive back King-Demenion Ford was surprised by South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer with a scholarship. Thankfully, the elite Gamecock media team was in the loop to what was coming and captured the moment on video.

Ford’s genuine reaction of joy, surprise, and thankfulness is what makes so many walk-ons special. The defensive back has worked his tail off and has been a real contributor for the Gamecocks, especially on special teams, and his hard work has paid off…literally.

The Blythewood High School alum’s scholarship is going to be worth thousands of dollars (in-state tuition is over $13,000 without consideration of room and board or any of the other expenses covered by the football scholarship), and he earned it.

Ford tried out and made the team in 2021 after being on campus but was not part of the team for his first year of college. His effort at practice earned him the Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Year, and he got his first game action in that season’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl. In 2022, he was a major part of Pete Lembo’s units and blocked two punts.

After being told by Coach Beamer about his scholarship (and after being mobbed by his teammates), Ford called his father and told him a very simple message: “I’m going to be able to pay you back for school.”

Congratulations are in order for King Ford, and he was a very deserving recipient of the Jake Panus Walk-On Football Endowed Scholarship. The awarded scholarship is given in honor of Jake Panus, a Columbia native who dreamed of playing for South Carolina football before his tragic death at the age of 16. The recipient must have a strong work ethic and a team-first mentality.

If you’d like more information on the Jake Panus Scholarship or would like to donate to the fund, you can find more info here.

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