Aug 16, 2013
Chandler Shakespeare will be in graduate school in September (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. – Chandler Shakespeare laughed with his teammates as newcomers entertained them with their rookie shows Wednesday night. That was all the fun he expected to have.
Shakespeare, a senior running back, knew what was coming next. Head coach Gus Malzahn would announce whether any walk-ons would be awarded scholarships. Shakespeare did not expect to hear his name called.
He was wrong. Malzahn announced that Shakespeare, junior wide receiver Dimitri Reese and senior defensive back Blake Poole would be put on scholarship.
“It sent butterflies through my stomach,” Shakespeare said. “It was very exciting to hear.”
Back home in Oxford, Ronica and Cornelious Shakespeare welcomed the news.
“They were like, ‘Are you for real?’” Shakespeare said. “They were happy.”
Shakespeare transferred from Delta State and walked on at Auburn in 2011. He graduated in May and will begin pursuit of a master’s degree in adult education when school starts in September. He has worked two jobs to help pay expenses. There were times when he wondered if it was worth it.
“It’s always in the back of your mind to give it up, but you have another mindset to keep pushing,” Shakespeare said. “In the end, something good is going to come out of it. When he called my name, it showed me that when you are patient good things will come for you.”
Once he has his master’s degree, Shakespeare wants to coach. He says his walk-on experience will be valuable.
“I hope it motivates other walk-ons and other people in things besides football that if you really want to accomplish something, take the first step, set your mind to it and don’t look back,” Shakespeare said.
Shakespeare still has another goal to reach. He wants to get into a game. He says he’s been getting significant work on special teams.
“I’m working hard for it,” Shakespeare said. “I’m doing everything I can.”
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: