SEATTLE -- As players are pulled aside for interviews after Washington practices, Thomas Vincent often slips past unnoticed.
The blonde backup quarterback walks off the field with his teammates as an unfamiliar face to members of the media. The redshirt freshman walk-on blends into the background.
So, when the Huskies’ media relations staff pulled him aside Wednesday, Vincent flashed a wide, if not somewhat confused, smile. As he explained what life is like as a walk-on, his teammates taunted him playfully as they worked their way toward the locker room.
“I’m just here to earn a spot on the field, make everybody around me better and just win ballgames,” said Vincent, who stepped out of the shadows to talk about his role with Washington.
If the coaching staff needs a receiver, a running back or a defensive back on the scout team, they turn to Vincent, who is athletic enough to fill in wherever he is needed.
“That’s what you’re hopeful you get, a guy that is somewhat of a jack of all trades, but really is willing to do anything,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He’s a great teammate. He’s a guy that can play quarterback, running back, DB when we need him to. We’re fortunate to have him.”
Vincent earns opportunities in practice, because he refuses to say no.
“Just never say no if an opportunity arises,” Vincent said. “You take it. You’ve just got to work harder than everybody else, in the offseason and during the season. Every opportunity you get you’ve got to seize it.”
During his senior season at Shoreline (Wash.) King’s, Vincent had opportunities to attend universities where he would have been given a chance to play. Air Force offered him a scholarship.
But, when the Huskies offered him an opportunity to join the program as a walk-on, he quickly accepted.
“For me, it was just kind of a dream come true to come to the University of Washington,” Vincent said. “All the other schools were great, don’t get me wrong, but when UW offered me to walk on, I knew that was kind of where I wanted to go. For me, the school and the coaching staff really made it an easy choice.”
Vincent knew what he was getting into. That didn’t deter him.
“I knew I would get my opportunities to get on the field,” he said. “They’ve given me a shot. Now it’s just my time to prove myself. They’ve played the best 11 people, it doesn’t matter if you’re a walk-on or on scholarship. I’m just trying to get on the field as best I can.”
So far, Vincent’s college career consists of one snap in a game. He covered a squib kick during the Huskies’ 52-13 win over Portland State.
“It was cool,” he said. “It was awesome.”
When asked if one play was worth the commitment it takes to attend practices every day, Vincent didn’t hesitate.
“For sure,” he said. “Definitely. Yeah.”
Respected by his teammates, Vincent plans to eventually earn more playing time. His approach is simple.
“If they need a guy,” he said, “I’m eager to be there.”