Football walk-on becomes scholarship recipient after four years

Brogan Barry, junior defensive back, on Aug. 29, 2017. (Photo by Justin Wright | Collegian Media Group)

Whether it is a promotion or a scholarship, many college students dream about the day that can change their careers. Soon, one Kansas State football player will get to experience that change as a recipient of an athletic scholarship.

Brogan Barry, K-State defensive back, has been on the football team since 2013, and in 2015 he joined the Wildcat lineup as a walk-on player. With no expectations of getting a scholarship, he took the news head-on.

“It was during a punt-return drill, and I actually had a bad rep and kind of screwed it up, so I was kind of nervous,” Barry said. “Then I hear Coach Sean Snyder call me over. He had told me, ‘If you haven’t already, you need to go down and fill out some paperwork for a scholarship.’ I said, ‘Are you serious?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ I hugged him and I jumped up in the air. I had a bunch of guys around me and they hugged me and celebrated with me. It is a feeling you really cannot describe.”

As a now former walk-on, Barry reflected in a press conference on the dreams he had for himself.

“It really felt like my experience had come full circle,” Barry said. “As a walk-on, it is that moment you always dream about and are working for every day.”

Barry took time to mention his role models and how he respected them.

“There are so many,” Barry said. “If you go way back, Ty Zimmerman was a great guy that I looked up to as a freshman. Guys like Weston Hiebert, another walk-on that ended up earning a scholarship. My roommate, Trent Tanking, has been another role model that I always looked up to. There are so many great people in this program, and I am sure I am leaving a bunch of people out.”

Before Barry came to K-State, he attended Hayden High School in Topeka, where he was named to the All-City First Team during his senior year. During that time, Barry learned about the importance of hard work and success.

“I learned the value of hard work,” Barry said. “My head coach Bill Arnold really instilled that in us. You had to work hard to be successful. The motto there is ‘enter to learn, leave to serve,’ and I learned that, too.”

Barry graduated from K-State with a degree in biology in May 2017, but he is staying here a little longer to achieve a minor in business. He plans to go to medical school once he achieves the minor.

“My biggest goal right now is to get into medical school,” Barry said. “I sent in my secondary application for early admission to KU Med not too long ago. Now I am just waiting to see if I have an interview, so that’s kind of what’s weighing on my mind.”

Barry noted that his mother, Jana Barry, is a KU graduate.

“To all my K-State friends, I’ll call myself a ‘Jay-Doc’ instead of a Jayhawk, but I’ll let her decide what she wants to call me,” Barry said.

Matthew McCrane, kicker for the Wildcats, was happy to see a scholarship go to a confident individual on his team.

“Brogan was excited — he deserves it, he just has spirit,” McCrane said. “During the games, he’s the one that’s most energetic. He’s confident, and that’s what we need. I just wish his scholarship announcement was more prominent.”

Barry’s roommate, tight end Dayton Valentine, was more than happy for Barry.

“Brogan is one of my best friends,” Valentine said. “I couldn’t be happier for him, he’s been here for a long time and he comes out here every day. He’s like a spark plug — when it comes to morale, he boosts the team’s morale more than anybody on this whole team.”

Barry volunteers at Via Christi Hospital every Friday and has thoroughly enjoyed it over the past few years.

To other walk-on players, Barry tells them to stick to it and always put their best foot forward.

“I try to tell a lot of guys to just keep working — hard work is always rewarded around here,” Barry said. “There’s a lot of guys that are walk-ons that are being very successful, and I know they deserve a scholarship, so I just tell them to stick with it and that it’s worth it.”

As an optimistic and influential member of the football team, Barry said he believes there are no limits for the Wildcats.

“I definitely think that if this team takes it day by day, practice by practice, there’s no limits of what this team could do,” Barry said. “If we keep working hard like we have been since January, it’s one of those things that’ll pay off. I have high expectations, and I hope everyone else on the team feels the same way, too.”

The Wildcats will host the University of Central Arkansas at home this Saturday. Kickoff is planned for 6:10 p.m.

I'm DeAundra Allen, co-editor-in-chief and sports editor at the Collegian. I'm a junior in broadcast journalism and pre-law, with a minor in philosophy. I was born in Brighton, Colorado, home of La Placita and the Bulldogs. I moved to Kansas in 2010, and fell in love with press boxes at a young age. In my spare time, I talk about my pets, sports, and work towards going to law school.