After Four Years, Zack Conti Gifted Captain's Scholarship
Zack Conti has been a walk-on with the team for four years. Without an extra scholarship for the team to hand out, EMU's team captain decides to share his.
Every year there are heart-warming videos from college football programs that get published around this time. During camp, teams may have a scholarship or two that go unused for various reasons. Guys fall off rosters for lots of different reasons and a hard-working walk-on might end up with their former teammate’s scholarship.
EMU didn’t have anything like that planned. It didn’t open up camp with 84 scholarship players, its roster was already filled up.
That was until right tackle and team captain Brian Dooley wondered to head coach Chris Creighton if the program could do something unique instead. Dooley, who is on pace to break EMU’s all-time games played and games started records, has had the pleasure of his college football days being paid for since 2018.
Dooley, said Creighton to his team, wanted to give his scholarship opportunity to the walk-on who’s in the running for the starting left tackle spot.
Eastern Michigan released the feel-good footage Thursday morning on Twitter.
In a team meeting, Creighton said to his team: “Zack Conti has had to pay his way for school for four years. In the fall, the guy was selling his plasma in order to be able to pay the bills. We’re at 85 scholarships. … We have 85 given out and no matter how many times or how many years we go to the NCAA and say, ‘Yeah, but I’m just telling you we need 86. We need 86, is there any way we can make an exception to this deal?’ the answer is ‘No; you have 85.’ Until Brian Dooley comes into my office and he says ‘Coach, that guy has earned it and I’ve talked it over with my family and the whole bit. If there’s a way to make this happen, I am willing to give up my scholarship and to give it to Zack Conti.’ I’ve never heard, I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
Creighton then addressed Dooley, and had the right tackle hand-deliver Conti’s new scholarship information to him.
Conti walked-on EMU’s roster in 2019 after he graduated from Trenton High School, and has appeared in 23 total games so far (offense and special teams). When Eastern published its initial two-deep last month, Conti was listed as the first-string left tackle, notably above the highly-anticipated Chris Mayo, who transferred in from West Virginia and has the highest high school 247sports composite score of anybody on the EMU roster.