Sept. 11, 2007
When being recruited by a large division I school like Florida State, it is easy to take for granted all of the opportunities that are offered with an athletic scholarship however, this cannot be said about one particular group of student-athletes in the locker room.
Senior Anthony Houllis began his career at Florida State quite differently then many of his fellow teammates; he began as a walk-on. Having to face obstacles such as being a walk-on and overcoming an injury, the rover was named special team captain by head coach Bobby Bowden for the 2007 season. To appreciate being named a captain, it is important to understand what it is like to be a walk-on.
“It’s definitely different then how the scholarship kids come out,” described Houllis. “There was no hype behind my name; no one really knew who I was. It didn’t come with anything, you hadn’t earned any respect.
“I think overall, now that I look back, it was definitely a good experience. I really enjoyed it. I came in as a walk-on and I got to play running back, my high school position for scout team, which I enjoyed and I’m glad I did it.”
After being named the top non-scholarship defensive player following 2005’s spring practices, Houllis earned a scholarship in the fall of 2005 and the starting rover position during the 2006 football season before being sidelined with an injury.
“It was a big change getting on scholarship and a lot more people rely on you when you’re playing,” explained Houllis.
“Starting the Miami game was reaching my short-term goal in life. That was my goal to start and play, right then it was the Miami game and my number one chance. It was a dream come true, especially winning, that just capped it all off. Those three games I started last year, I enjoyed it and that’s pretty much what I worked for.”
After never having a serious injury in his life, Houllis got injured last season when he intercepted a ball. He was tackled from behind and his knee drove into the ground. He ended up chipping the base of his femur
and had to have surgery. After two surgeries and a year spent rehabbing, he is still receiving daily treatment.
Houllis entered two-a-days this season with a different mentality then he had in the past. Being a senior, he has more on the line this season and after having surgery before practice began, he had a new mind set.
“It was definitely the easiest two-a-days of my career because I was very used to it,” said Houllis. “I didn’t get to practice every single day, which was kind of disappointing. As a freshman you come in wishing you had a day off, but by the time you are a senior you want to practice everyday. I felt as though it was tough because I was not in very good shape because I had just had surgery. The first week was very discouraging for me. I wasn’t as fast, not as explosive, not as quick. I started seeing minor results and I felt I was getting a little better everyday. I feel good now and I’m ready to play.”
Houllis has had the type of career exemplified by hard work, character and determination, and on Friday, August 14th, all of Houllis’ hard work reached the pinnacle when he was named co-captain of the 2007 football team along side De’Cody Fagg and Andre Fluellen by coach Bowden at the Kickoff Luncheon.
“I think it is a great honor to be captain of a great football team like this,” said Houllis. “I love all of my teammates, we have great teammates and it’s an honor to be a leader. I think everyone knows that we are proud to be captains.”
By Maryjane Gardner Sports Information Staff Assistant