I posted this in another thread but I guess many people haven't really heard about how hard this kid's fought for a place on this team. If the mods want to bump this down to the board, that'd be understandable, the story's not all that long. Anyway, Kennedy's name has come up quite a bit recently; and I completely agree that no one wants to see another Nick Sheridan season. I'm not arguing he should start. But people who make fun of him (and granted, they are few and far between) should know how hard he's worked before criticizing. Anyway, on with the story.
One of my cousins was good friends with Jack in high school. This is what they told me.
Anywho, as a junior in HS, Jack was the starting QB. He came back in his senior year and either there was a new coach..or something, and the coach didn't like him..or at least his ability, so he got benched (Edit..AA.com says he was injured). Anyway, the slim shot Jack had at playing D1 ball seems to evaporate, right?
Well Jack enrolls as a freshman at UM, paying his own way, obviously. But hereally wants to join the football team. After enrolling as a freshman, he tries out, doesn't make the team. He doesn't give up. He knows he's been out of it for a while, and there's no way he's going to get on without practice. So, at night, after the team's gone back to their dorms/etc, and the field...yes, Michigan Stadium is empty, he hops the fence or whatever and sneaks onto the field. Every night. He uses practice equipment, footballs, etc, anything he can get his hands onto. For months and months, every day he snuck on and practiced in the dead of night.
Eventually, the cops caught him one night. He thought he was screwed, but instead, the cops set him up with practice stuff at Pioneer (I think my cousin said the Pioneer coach worked with him too) and when walk-on tryouts come around the next year, he goes for it. He leaves everything out on the field at the tryout, and makes the team.
He knows he'll never start, he knows he'll rarely play, he knows he'll probably never get on scholarship. But he loves Michigan football so much that none of it matters to him. He worked on all of that, so hard, just to suit up for the maize and blue on Saturdays. Now it's been about a year since my cousin told me about this, but I think I got all my facts straight.
You want a Michigan man, whatever the hell that means? There's your Michigan man.
Here's some AA.com add-ons. Their story adds some nice quotes from his parents after the DSU game from last year, but leaves out the Pioneer part.
My cousin told me he wasn't liked by the coaches..I guess he was just injured.
A redshirt freshman, Kennedy was forced to sit out his senior year of high school at Walled Lake Central after suffering a back injury.
More or less what my cousin told me
From the time he was cut until the start of this year's spring tryouts, Kennedy would scale the construction fence outside of Michigan Stadium and work out at night under the construction lights. Jack's parents didn't understand why he asked them for four footballs for his 19th birthday. Only later did they learn that Jack was lining up and knocking down trash cans on the field of Michigan Stadium to improve his accuracy.
Worked out with Cavanaugh, Kovacs, and Baker
When he wasn't risking arrest for trespassing, he worked out with fellow walk-ons Jordan Kovacs, Matt Cavanaugh and Zac Baker in the hopes of making a better showing this year.
Some more nice fluff on RR
Rodriguez could've easily just kept Cone in the game or had Jack take a knee. But he chose to put Jack in and called the quarterback keeper for him.
Anyway, I just wanted to share, so you could all appreciate the sacrifice this kid (these kids, really, a lot of walk-ons face similar obstacles) went through and the selflessness he's shown.