Football players like to portray themselves as tough, emotionless machines, but Florida Gators sophomore running back Mark Herndon did not have a problem admitting on Tuesday that he cried on the practice field.
“Yeah, I did,” he said with an ear-to-ear smile.
That’s what happens when the team you rooted for your entire life, the one you walked on to instead of choosing accept a full ride from another university, offers you a scholarship a year earlier than you even expected it to be a possibility.
“I just earned my scholarship today, and it brought tears to my eyes. The first thing I did was call my mom and told her. She was ecstatic about it. I’m just trying to suck it all in right now,” Herndon explained.
“[Earning a scholarship was] always in my mind, but when I first got here, Coach [Will] Muschamp told me it’s two years until you get a scholarship,” the second-year player added. “I wasn’t expecting it. So when he told me, it just threw me way off. I thought I was in a dream. If you had seen me then, my mouth just dropped.”
Tears also started flowing from Herndon’s eyes. And when he approached running backs coach Brian White to celebrate, he saw the emotion reflected right back to him.
“Coach White cried with me. That was a big thing because it makes me feel like he really cares about us. I can feel that. It was just a real emotional thing for me,” he said.
“I usually don’t cry but that was enough to do it.”