Late last week, then-walk-on senior punter David Lerner received some fantastic news from coach Will Muschamp. Lerner, who has spent fall camp dealing with debilitating Crohn’s disease, was awarded the starting punting job.
On Friday, Lerner was rewarded for his hard work on the field by earning a scholarship along with three other Florida players.
“Big day for me from a standpoint of being a former walk-on and being able to give some guys scholarships,” Muschamp said. “We were able to give (them to) David Lerner, [Tim] Clark, [William] Steinmann and Scott Peek.”
With Florida well below the NCAA-mandated 85-man scholarship cap, Muschamp had the luxury of rewarding a couple of players with the one thing they’ve all fought for since they walked on to the football team.
Being awarded a scholarship is the kind of moment most players dream about. Muschamp knows it, having been a former walk-on safety at Georgia.
“I know I’ll never forget the day that I was awarded a scholarship,” Muschamp said. “We did it in front of the team and it was an emotional time.”
Each of Florida’s four players recently awarded scholarships have been exemplary role models for the team and the community.
Lerner’s battle with Crohn’s disease has been one of the most heartwarming and inspiring stories to come out of fall camp in years for the Gators.
But all four of the players have their own unique stories and have contributed to the Florida football program in ways many casual fans will never recognize.
Muschamp was grateful for the opportunity he had to recognize their efforts with scholarhips.
“Four guys that have all been in our program for a number of years,” he said. “Have both demonstrated themselves well on and off the field. Academically, they’ve done an outstanding job.”
Clark is a redshirt sophomore defensive back who was a football, basketball and track star at Branford High School in Wellborn.
During his senior season, he made the first-team all-state football team, led his basketball team in scoring and won the district championship in 110-meter hurdles and pole vault.
He suited up for all but three games for Florida last season and played in both the Vanderbilt and Appalachian State games.
Steinmann is a senior offensive lineman who has played in 18 games in his Florida career and was a staple on Florida’s field goal unit a year ago.
Muschamp recently noted that Steinmann is working at both offensive tackle and tight end to provide Florida with a blocking option at a tight end position that is woefully undermanned at the moment.
Steinmann suited up for the Gators in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game and also played in Tim Tebow’s final home game in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
He began his career at Florida as a biology major but changed his major to political science in hopes of entering UF’s law school in two years.
Finally, Peek III is a redshirt junior linebacker who has played in one game in his career. He racked up two tackles in his lone appearance against Appalachian State in 2010.
His father and grandfather both played at Florida, making Scott the third generation of Peek players at Florida. He is one of seven children.
Muschamp beamed as he announced his four newest scholarship additions Saturday. They’ve worked hard, he said, and recognizing their hard work helps keep everyone on the team focused and grateful for the opportunity they have.
“I told our scholarship guys, sometimes you take things for granted as far as what you have to complain and moan about some things and have these guys paying for what – they want to be in your shoes,” he said. “It was great for our football team.”