Freshman walk-on wide receiver Robby Kolanz is one of the many Trojans living out his dream of playing USC Football, even with the odds stacked against him.
“It’s unbelievable, I feel so humbled to just be competing out here,” Kolanz said.
Kolanz has been immersed in the best competition, something he never could have imagined while playing his senior campaign at Palos Verdes High School last year. “It’s been a 180-degree difference from Palos Verdes, and I keep working hard and doing everything I can to get the opportunity.”
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In camp, injuries to starters have allowed Kolanz to see more action than one would expect for a walk-on.
“Its really exciting man, its a weird experience to put into words,” Kolanz said about his increased role on offense due to minor injuries across the board at the wide receiver position.
Thanks to solid contributions throughout summer and Fall Camp, Kolanz is beginning to garner trust with the starting quarterbacks. “It has been a total roller coaster rides cause sometimes things go wrong,” Kolanz said following a rough practice on Tuesday. “But I am just trying to have short memory and get back it at the next time.”
Kolanz has caught the eye of his peers from the second he arrived on campus for voluntary summer workouts. “He’s such a force,” Max Wittek said talking about the wide receiver’s breakout performance on Aug. 13th, featuring receptions all over the field including the game-winning touchdown pass at the end of practice. “He catches damn near everything that comes his way, and to have walk ons step up and making plays, there is so much value to that for our team.”
That being said, the true freshman is humbled by his unique opportunity with true reps on the gridiron against highly-touted prospects.
“I’ve been dreaming about playing college football my entire life, and contributing is so much fun and I feel really blessed,” Kolanz mentions.
In the midst of Game Week preparations, Kolanz remains amongst the final cut of players waiting for his name to be called for the Trojans’ trip to Hawaii this Tuesday. With Marqise Lee, Darreus Rogers, Nelson Agholor, Victor Blackwell and De’Von Flournoy slated to play next week, roster spots will be tough to come by, however.
Situations like these are just another step in the process for walk-on players like Kolanz, who certainly won’t let a simple yes or no interfere with their efforts on the field.
“Im working my ass off, its been great and something I will continue to work for,” he said about working with the Trojans wide receiver corps. “I am going to keep working until I get the chance to travel.”
Regardless of whether he stands on the sideline for Hawaii, ASU, Notre Dame or any other road game for that matter, Kolanz will continue to help the squad get better in practice. “This has been one of the coolest experiences of my life. Regardless of whether I go to hawaii or not, I am not going to look at the situation any differently.”
While never being the player spotted on campus in every-day life, the work Kolanz contributed during a troubling slew of minor injuries at Fall Camp only helped the team improve, added value that makes living out the dream for Kolanz forever rewarding each day on the gridiron.