At the end of Friday morning's practice, Texas head coach Mack Brown announced to the team that he was awarding junior walk-on kicker Ryan Bailey a scholarship.
Bailey had not played until last season, when his first kick was the game winner in the snow against No. 17 Nebraska. He went 17-of-18 on PATs and 6-of-6 on FGs in six games to score 35 points.
In a release from Texas, Bailey said:
"It's been a dream of mine to come here ever since I was little kid. I always thought about getting a shot to walk on. I wasn't expecting anything at all and I wasn't expecting to play when I first got here, but I just worked hard and it worked out. I want to thank the coaches for having
the faith to give me a chance. I'm not going to let them down and I'm going to keep working hard."
Brown also released a statement, saying:
"Ryan and his family never asked or even mentioned anything about a scholarship," Brown said. "He was just happy to be a part of the team and to help us win games. But when you look at our team motto for the year ('Earn the Right') it seemed very appropriate for us to put Ryan on scholarship.
With his unselfishness, team first attitude, commitment to being an all-around student-athlete and the fact that he's developing into a great
kicker for us, he has more than earned the right to have that honor."
Cheers and congratulations from teammates followed after Brown made the announcement, according to UT Athletics.
Bailey is a four-time member of UT's Athletics Director¹s Honor Roll and Dean's List. He heads into the 2007 season as the Longhorns' starting kicker.