Walk-on kicker serving Flyers well


Dayton (1-1) at Robert Morris (1-1), noon, 95.7-FM, 1290-AM

During the last few seasons University of Dayton football coach Rick Chamberlin wouldn’t even hesitate on whether or not to kick a field goal.

He would just send the offense back out onto the field.

“You start thinking, ‘Do I try it or not,’ ” Chamberlin said. “To be honest with you, last couple years there were situations where we went for it because I just wasn’t sure if our kickers could get it done.”

Two weeks into the season, Chamberlin has changed his tune because of a redshirt freshman walk-on.

William Will — the team calls him “Willy Will” — is 4 for 4 on field goals. He kicked three on consecutive UD possessions and the eventual 25-yard game-winner during Dayton’s 23-20 win over Duquesne last Saturday.

Dayton (1-1) takes on Robert Morris (1-1) this afternoon in Moon Township, Pa.

With his performance in UD’s first win of the season, Will was named Pioneer Football League’s Special Teams Player of the Week.

“I felt honored,” Will said. “I’m just glad the coaches gave me the opportunity last year to make the team. It’s a cool experience to get a chance to walk on to a college team.”

Will said coming out of Lincoln Way East High School in the Chicago suburbs that he didn’t get any scholarship offers, but several schools, including some Pioneer Football League programs, sent him letters hoping he might join as a walk-on.

“Once I visited Dayton I knew I wanted to come here even if I couldn’t play football,” he said. “But I’m glad I could.”

“Coach (Kevin) Hoyng came to my school and recruited me and some of my friends on my high school team. He told me the situation about how they couldn’t bring anyone else into camp, so I could try to walk on to the team.”

Chamberlin said the Flyers had a kicker already lined up for last season when Will went to walk-on tryouts. The decision for the coaching staff was whether or not to keep Will.

“He showed some good length strength,” Chamberlin said. “Accuracy was OK. We kept him on the team and he competed. We chart everything. He was right in the running. I wouldn’t say he was No. 1.

“We go into the season with Willy and he makes that first one (a 37-yard field goal) at Youngstown,” Chamberlin said. “What I noticed from that week at Youngstown to last week against Duquesne was he was really nailing them. He really was. It was different than in camp. He always gets the ball away, but the accuracy was just straight as could be.”