Walk-on no longer: Hard work pays off for Dimitri Reese

By: Sara Hodges Email
By: Sara Hodges Email

*Auburn Media Relations*
AUBURN, Ala. – Dimitri Reese enrolled at Auburn in 2010 because he wanted to become a nurse. A standout football and basketball player at Clay-Chalkville High School, he had no interest in college athletics.

Wednesday night, Reese, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior wide receiver, was awarded a football scholarship by Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.

Reese’s journey from reluctant walk-on to scholarship football player started after he turned down scholarship offers from Jacksonville State, North Alabama and North Florida to attend Auburn.

“My dad said ‘You don’t want to try to play football?’” Reese said. “I said I didn’t. He said ‘Try it for me.’ I did, we won the national title and the rest is history. I’m so glad I did it.”

Wednesday night, after being entertained by newcomers at the annual rookie show, Reese, defensive back Blake Poole and running back Chandler Shakespeare were called to the front and told they were on scholarship.

“It was definitely a big surprise,” Reese said. “When he called my name, my heart just jumped.”

His first call was to his parents.

“My mom and dad were crying and praising the Lord and everything,” Reese said. "They did a little Holy dance.”

The price of that scholarship was high. Reese worked part-time as a pharmacy tech while facing the same demands scholarship players face. He worked at his demanding major in health education.

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