UNLV's Kalilikane describes 'crazy' scholarship surprise - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UNLV's Kalilikane describes 'crazy' scholarship surprise

(Courtesy: UNLV Athletic Department) (Courtesy: UNLV Athletic Department)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Videos of walk-on athletes being awarded scholarships by surprise are some of the most entertaining on the internet; you've seen renditions of them posted by schools across the country, including Florida, Notre Dame and N.C. State.

This week, as football players from UNLV wrapped up one of their spring practices, a Hawaii-born Rebel walk-on learned firsthand just how special the experience can be.

"Before we go ahead and do our prayer, this is probably one of the coolest things I've done," began Tony Sanchez, the head coach of UNLV's football program. "You put the greater good ahead of yourself, and good things are going to happen in your life." 

Sanchez, letting the drama of the moment build, waited to reveal his true intentions and instead continued to preach the virtues of being selfless. Roscoe Kalilikane, a Radford High School graduate and walk-on linebacker with the Rebels, kept listening. 

"Show up every day, be a good person, do the right thing. Put your teammates ahead of you, put the whole organization ahead of you," said Sanchez. "Good things are gonna happen to you."

Kalilikane, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies, remained unaware that his entire experience as a collegiate athlete was about to change.

"Right now, something great is about to happen," Sanchez continued.

And it was.

"Starting in the fall, he's on a full damn scholarship. Roscoe!" said Sanchez, whose ensuing words cannot be heard over the voices of Kalilikane's teammates, who immediately roared in satisfaction.

"It was emotional, but honestly, I didn't cry," said Kalilikane, who returned home to Hawaii during UNLV's spring break. "I was more in shock... I'm still shocked, til today. It's just all that hard work you put into it, that grind off the field. It's just crazy, crazy, man."

Watching video of the moment, posted on Friday by the UNLV athletic department, it becomes clear that the moment was worth the build-up. Kalilikane's teammates begin chanting his name -- "Roscoe! Roscoe! Roscoe!" -- before hoisting him onto their shoulders. 

"All my friends was just telling me, 'We all did it! We was rooting for you the entire time!' Some guys told me that they thought I had a scholarship," said Kalilikane. "But that didn't even matter. It's just what was happening at that moment, like, man, we did it right now."

For Kalilikane, the "right now" goal has changed from scholarship to starting spot. He hopes his story can help aspire other walk-on athletes to bigger and better things.

"You may be looked down upon, but you gotta look at it like this. You're not on scholarship, so that means you gotta work twice as hard," said Kalilikane. "That means you have to do everything twice as better. That means when you hit the weight room, you have to have to hit that thing the hardest you will ever possibly hit it."

Because when you do? Good things happen. Just ask Roscoe.

Check out the full video below:

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