Schmidt’s journey to the USC football locker room is arguably the strangest of the team’s two dozen walk-ons.And . . .
A three-time state champion in hockey at Minnesota’s St. Thomas Academy, Schmidt gave up football to play junior hockey after high school in the hopes of earning a Division I scholarship as a defenseman. That didn’t happen, so he enrolled at USC, where it quickly became apparent that he would not win the kicking job.
“So I picked up holding,” the 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior said. “And I also had to learn long snapping because they didn’t have a backup. I learned that here. I never snapped a day in my life before.”And . . .
It’s a story of grit and perseverance that Schmidt acknowledges is similar to that of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, another undersized, moderately athletic walk-on, who played for Notre Dame.
They made a movie about Ruettiger.
“I might not run that 4.3 40,” Schmidt said. “I’ve always known the NFL wasn’t a thing for me. (But) it gave me an opportunity to play in a Rose Bowl, a Cotton Bowl.
“That’s something I’ll definitely remember forever.”