The best things in life come unexpectedly. They can be life-changing, mind-blowing opportunities that you will forever be thankful for.
In this case, sophomore Dalton Schoen got to live his dream playing for the Kansas State Wildcats football team and he “never thought it’d actually happen.”
Schoen, a Blue Valley Northwest High School alum, was named the Kansas City Star male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2014-2015. He was also a finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman award. Schoen was not just known for his football skills, but also for his academic knowledge, as he got all A’s through high school.
During his time in high school, he broke the Kansas high school record for receiving yards in a game. He got 380 yards on 12 catches with four touchdowns in 2014, and he also set the Kansas Shrine Bowl’s game record with 169 yards. Schoen also ran in 42 receptions for 880 yards and eight touchdowns for the year of 2014, earning him first team all-state honors.
Schoen was no stranger to K-State, as his parents and a majority of his family are K-State alums.
“Growing up my whole life, I was a huge K-Stater,” Schoen said. “I’ve been going to football and basketball games all my life; obviously playing here was going to be a dream. I never thought it would happen. I always thought I wasn’t talented enough or would have the opportunity to play at this level. When the opportunity came, I took it and went with it.”
Schoen talked about how surreal it feels to score a touchdown and live up to his dreams. He came on to the team as a walk-on in 2015.
“To actually go up here and play and score a touchdown in the stadium, it’s honestly surreal; I can’t even describe it,” Schoen said. “I obviously dreamed about it and never thought it would happen.”
As Schoen continues to prove himself, many compare him to K-State alum and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson attended K-State from 2005-2007 and ended his career with 2,822 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“I don’t feel like I deserve that comparison,” Schoen said. “It’s definitely cool since I looked up to him growing up. I really admired him, and he was my favorite K-State player.”
Schoen has yet to meet Nelson.
As Schoen’s fame grows, he talked about how humbling it can be to become a role model.
“It’s pretty cool, it’s humbling to think about the fact that people look up to me,” Schoen said. “Hopefully they’re thinking it’s something they can do, too. Keep working, keep grinding and think you can make it.”
Schoen discussed what he looks forward to each game after being on the team for two years.
“I look forward to seeing us succeed,” Schoen said. “Seeing people make big plays, because that’s when it’s real fun. We love to see teammates succeeding, and you just get happy. Fans don’t see that or see us practice in the offseason. We know we go through so much for these 12 weekends.”
Schoen talked about what he feels after scoring touchdowns.
“It’s hard to describe,” Schoen said. “It starts with ‘whoa, what just happened’ and a little bit of shock, but then you just gotta keep on going, you got a game to play still, you just got to kind of refocus and lock it back in. … Confidence comes from preparation; when I’m prepared, I know I’m ready to take it.”
Schoen also talked about how being coached by head coach Bill Snyder.
“Its incredible,” Schoen said. “To see someone changing the culture of this team and getting it back into the success category is great. It’s definitely cool to come and play for a coach like that.”
When it comes to being in the spotlight more, Schoen talked about the expectations he thinks people have of him.
“I’m sure at the beginning of the season I wasn’t expected to do much,” Schoen said. “Now that I have done some stuff and had some success, it’s more of an expectation than pressure.”
Coach Snyder has briefly talked about Schoen in previous press conferences, and he still thinks Schoen can get better.
“I think he can continue to be better,” Snyder said. “I don’t put any limits on how good someone can perform.”