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Walk - On Spotlight

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Walk-on Spotlight


BlueAndGold.com Writer



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Everyone knows the story of Rudy, the most famous walk-on in the history of walk-ons. His experience was chronicled unlike any other in the movie Rudy. He was much like every walk-on, until he became famous for it. Non-scholarship players work extremely hard juggling football with academics just to be part of the program. The following piece is the first in a BGI series of articles that will shed some light on the current Notre Dame non-scholarship football players.

Matt Augustyn heads into his senior campaign looking to letter in football for the first time after three seasons at fullback. He is known, as are most walk-ons, for working extremely hard in preparing the first and second teams for play each Saturday in the fall. However, he has quite a history as a first team player in Chevy Chase, Md.


Augustyn played for Our Lady of Good Counsel High School where he was a featured tight end and defensive end. As a junior, he averaged 12 yards per reception and developed a reputation for being a devastating blocker. He elevated his game as a senior, totaling 18 yards per reception and found the end zone several times.


For his efforts, Augustyn was named to the Washington, D.C. Catholic Athletic Conference all-star team as a senior. He would also earn similar recognition as a track and field athlete in the spring of his senior year.


Passing up offers to play college football, Augustyn decided to do a year of post-graduate prep work at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. His coach that year, Leon Modeste, said that it’s always tricky for a player in Augustyn’s position to come right in and play.


“Although these kids come in for one year of prep and they are the oldest players on the team, they are also completely new to the program,” Modeste explained. “Many of these kids come in with a bunch of academic and personal baggage, but not Matt. From day one, he did great work for us as a football player and a student.”


Augustyn’s worth ethic allowed him to see significant playing time from the begining.


“On the field, he was our top tight end in a run-oriented attack, so he was limited to a catch or two per game. He was our man to get us out on the edge. He could seal off a defensive end or a linebacker with a variety of techniques. He was the key to making our offense successful, which it was his year here,” Modeste added.


“On the defensive side of the ball, he was a force. Most teams in our league are also run-first types of teams, but Matt still managed to come up with 6.5 sacks and he forced a bunch of fumbles. He was very disruptive to an offense. Actually, he was only disruptive on the football field, because he was a model citizen.”


Modeste enjoys keeping up with his former players and he has been receiving updates from Matt’s father, who is a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School. He also receives updates from another former player who resides in South Bend – Shane Waldron. Waldron, a graduate assistant under Charlie Weis, played football at Tufts University after his time at Phillips Academy.


“By every account, Matt loves his time at Notre Dame as an athlete, a student, and a member of the community,” Modeste said. “He could have played football at a smaller school, but he is very happy with his decision. Who knows, maybe someday he will follow Shane’s footsteps and get into coaching.”


Matt Augustyn is another fine example of a young man with great passion and determination whose love for Notre Dame and the game of football allows the program to thrive.





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