By Jeff Owens | File photo by Jenny Dilworth
Will Muschamp will never forget the day he was awarded a scholarship as a walk-on at the University of Georgia.
"I was awarded a scholarship walking off the practice field there at Sanford Stadium when Coach [Ray] Goff told me I was on scholarship," said Muschamp, who played for Georgia from 1991-94.
Mushcamp was able to return that favor again on Saturday, announcing that junior kicker Parker White had been placed on scholarship during the Garnet & Black Spring game.
"This young man earned his scholarship," he said. "We didn’t even name him the starter two years ago and he continued to fight and continued to battle and continued to work on his craft and it’s just been a really good dependable guy for us."
White came to South Carolina as a walk-on with the dream of earning the starting placekicker job for the Gamecocks. He realized that dream as a freshman and had a strong sophomore season for South Carolina last year, making 13 of 16 field goal attempts and 45 of 46 PATs.
In one of the coolest moments of the Garnet & Black Spring Game, Muschamp stopped play just before halftime and had White line up and boot a field goal. After he made it, a message on the giant video board at Williams-Brice Stadium announced that White had been placed on full scholarship.
White said he had a hint he was going to be awarded a scholarship but had no idea it was going to be announced Saturday in front of his teammates and Gamecocks fans.
"Going out there for that last one-minute kick, I had it feeling it could be [then] but I tried not to overthink it and hopefully it would happen," he said.
Muschamp said it was an "easy decision" to put White on scholarship.
"He has won two games for us going out there to kick the final kick of the game," he said. "He’s a guy who went through a very up-and-down first year and fought through that and really needed to clean up some things mechanically, which he did in the offseason and he had a fantastic season for us last year."
For his two-year career, White is 27-of-41 on field goals with a long of 47 yards. He has made 71 of 72 PAT and has averaged 64.3 yards on 84 kickoffs with 56 touchbacks. He shared the Joe Morrison Special Teams MVP award last season with punter Joseph Charlton.
With his teammates gathered around him, White got a nice ovation from the crowd at Williams-Brice and was joined on the field by his parents and his family.
“I want to thank God and all my coaches and my family for allowing it to happen, specifically my parents and grandparents for helping pay for school so I could be here until now," he said. "Having my parents come out on the field and all my teammates around me was defeinly really special and in front of the best fans in the country."