Lane Kiffin had hilarious way of surprising a Florida Atlantic walk-on with a scholarship

Yahoo Sports
Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin had to build some suspense before surprising walk-on <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/247628/" data-ylk="slk:Gerald Hearns">Gerald Hearns</a> with a scholarship. (Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)
Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin had to build some suspense before surprising walk-on Gerald Hearns with a scholarship. (Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

Lane Kiffin wanted to put a little scare into Gerald Hearns before giving him some great news.

Kiffin, entering year two as Florida Atlantic’s head coach, called Hearns up in front of the team to ask him why he hadn’t gone to yoga the previous day. Kiffin wondered if because Hearns, who he often uses as a great example for his teammates, was a starter in a recent team scrimmage, he all of a sudden thought he didn’t need to do the little things to prepare for the season.

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“We talk about ego getting in the way. Did you go to yoga yesterday?” Kiffin asked Hearns.

“No, sir,” Hearns replied.

“Why?” Kiffin continued, “because the day before you started in the scrimmage. So then, you think, ‘I don’t need to because I made it.’”

It continued in that direction until Kiffin presented Hearns with what he said was a note from the yoga instructor who had previously offered Hearns additional help.

The message? “You’re on scholarship.”

Well played, Lane. The team appropriately erupted in cheers. Here’s the video:


That’s a fun one. After the video was posted, Kiffin tweeted that giving a walk-on a scholarship is a “way better feeling than any win.”

“One of my favorite kids of all time! To all walk-ons out there don’t give up don’t ever give up,” Kiffin’s tweet said.

After a standout season at Florida A&M, Hearns, a running back, decided to move up a level and join the FAU roster as a walk-on. He did not play in 2016 but saw action in eight games last fall, totaling 67 yards on 11 attempts. Hearns had a really good spring for the Owls and is now competing to back up star Devin Singletary.

“It means so much,” Hearns said in a video released by the school. “If people only could understand what I’ve been going through these past three years. … I’ve been doing construction work, I’ve been operating my own business, waking up at 5 in the morning. It’s a heck of a grind, just being an outlet and a resource to other people.

“I push myself every day — I could be dead tired, on my knees and just crawling off the field — and people don’t even know when I leave here, I’m dressing up in a full suit to go sell windows, or go do construction work, or go sell t-shirts or whatever way I could hustle to pay my bills. Lights, water, whatever. It’s so much. People don’t understand the struggle. My mama’s going to be proud. My family, my friends. It’s a blessing.”

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