Jacom Brimhall thought it was his. The walk-on running back thought he worked hard enough the past year — through last season to this year's spring and fall camps — to earn a scholarship.
When Arizona State coach Todd Graham announced after Friday's practice long snapper Mitchell Fraboni was given a scholarship, Graham said the team could only award one player a year.
Maybe next year, Brimhall thought.
Then, the end-of-practice meeting took a turn.
"Brimhall, get up here!" Graham yelled.
Just like Fraboni, the entire team mobbed Brimhall as he stood up to be acknowledged. He admitted he started crying when he heard his name.
"That just got me all emotional," Brimhall said. "This whole thing has been a dream come true. This just means so much to me...I couldn't hold it."
Brimhall has been an enigma in the past year with Arizona State. Standing 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, the sophomore running back from Mesa Mountain View High is at first glance one of the smallest players on the team. After serving on a Church of Latter-Day Saints mission two years prior to attending ASU, Brimhall spent all of last season on the scout team.
Then Brimhall started making a name for himself. Despite being part of a stacked running backs group that includes DeMario Richard, Kalen Ballage and flashy recruits De'Chavon Hayes and Jason Lewis, Brimhall's hustle and quick feet earned him reps with the second team in scrimmages. Coaches raved about his work ethic. All fall camp, he seemed like the clear favorite to receive a scholarship.
Brimhall started to get an idea he was due, but he still kept working.
"[The team] kept on saying little, tiny hints," he said. "They kept on saying, 'Oh, how are we going to give you scholarship if you keep doing that?' and this, so little, tiny things they say made it seem like I wasn't going to get a scholarship. But I thought at this point, school started and maybe next year."
Both scholarship recipients are going to get key playing time this year at special teams, where ASU has struggled under Graham's tenure. Fraboni is already listed on the depth chart as the starting long snapper, while Graham is almost completely set with giving Brimhall kick returning duties along with Hayes.
Promoting walk-ons is a special event for Graham. He had awarded players in the past who ended up making significant contributions, like former wide receiver Kevin Ozier and former defensive lineman Gannon Conway. Safety Jordan Simone was one of five recipients exactly a year ago, and the captain of this season's Sun Devils was the first to embrace both Fraboni and Brimhall.
"A lot of the public out there don't what these guys sacrifice," Graham said. "In anywhere in the country, if you want to have an opportunity to walk on, this is a great place to do it."
As Brimhall met with reporters after Friday's practice, he was still filled with emotions and his teammates went out of their way to congratulate him while he was speaking. When asked what he's going to do after he's dismissed from the team for the day, Brimhall said he had to break the news to his parents.
"I got to go call my parents," Brimhall said. "Especially my mom, she'd kill me. If my dad reads all of that stuff first before I call him, he'd kill me."
And it gave him a sense of urgency. After the media session, Brimhall borrowed a team official's phone. Neither his mother nor his father answered, but he tried before the news made the rounds online.
An emotional Jacom Brimall calling his family to inform them of his scholarship. pic.twitter.com/04BNi411hJ— Matthew Tonis (@Tonis_The_Tiger) August 21, 2015
Backup quarterback update
Friday's practice saw ASU's gold practice jerseys for the first time, which designates the scout team. Freshmen quarterbacks Brady White and Bryce Perkins wore the gold jerseys, while redshirt freshman Manny Wilkins kept the standard anthracite quarterback jersey.
It's assumed Wilkins is the No. 2 quarterback behind redshirt senior Mike Bercovici. It makes sense to start Wilkins while presumably redshirting both White and Perkins for development, but Graham said he and offensive coordinator Mike Norvell still is leaving the situation open.
"Obviously, we would like for Manny to step up and be the No. 2 guy, but I still think all three of those guys are still really close," Graham said. "As far as being a guy prepared, we have a lot of work to do there, but we we think right now [Wilkins] is the best position to do it."