Away from the field, there will be a few noticeable differences.
For starters, financially a scholarship will be a decent windfall and it might be nice to be recognized by the fans and the coaching staff as a more official part of the Tennessee football roster.
But once the pads are on, Shane Reveiz isn’t expecting anything to change. If anything, the Vols’ senior is embracing his walk-on past as a motivator and reminder of all the work he had to do to earn his recent promotion — particularly with the opportunity for some playing time this fall right in front of him.
“After all these years, it’s just really satisfying to get something like this,” Reveiz said Saturday during a break at UT’s Habitat for Humanity project. “But I still have the same mindset as a walk-on.
“I have to say, though, I guess it gives me a little more confidence as far as knowing that the coaches have a little more faith in me as a player and not just as a walk-on who could help out on special teams and stuff like that. I’m really eager to get into fall camp and see what I can do.”
The Vols have seen a couple glimpses of what exactly he can do in live situations during the past couple years, and injuries late in spring practice gave Reveiz another valuable audition as he tries to expand his role heading into his final season.
With or without a scholarship, offseason surgeries for Herman Lathers and Greg King figured to give Reveiz a shot to crack a linebacker rotation low on depth. But Reveiz had already started making a case for playing time after acquitting himself well with nine tackles in the second and final scrimmage of spring.
The text message he received from position coach Peter Sirmon two weeks ago to set up a meeting that produced a scholarship only reaffirmed the value Reveiz could provide the Vols.
“I’m still working hard, all of us linebackers are working hard,” Reveiz said. “We’re all trying to earn a spot, and I feel like as long as we keep working hard and having that mental focus every day, then I think when fall camp comes around we’ll be all right.
“I mean, it’s been a long road, and just to hear Coach (Derek) Dooley finally say he was going to put me on scholarship, it was awesome.”
That wasn’t the first call like that the Reveiz family has received, and the one former coach Phillip Fulmer once made to Shane’s older brother Nick turned out pretty well for the Vols, also.
But both former walk-on linebackers stressed that simply winning a scholarship wasn’t the ultimate goal, despite the nice benefits that come with it. And even when the honor arrives, it doesn’t actually make much difference in the locker room or on the practice field if it’s not earned every day.
“I think a lot of times the only opinion that matters is what those other players think of you,” Nick Reveiz said. “Within the community and with some coaches maybe (they’d think), ‘Well, now he’s a scholarship guy.’ But I don’t think it really changes the aspect with the players — and that’s what matters on the field.
“Just to see that hard work come to fruition with Shane, it’s been something that’s been a long time coming. Sometimes it’s hard to keep on keeping on when you don’t see the results immediately. But he’s going into his last year and now he has a scholarship, and I think it’s better late than never.”
Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.