It took Oregon walk-on Dane Ebanez four years and countless hours in the weight room and practice field, but he finally got to play in a bowl game.
The North Pole, Alaska, native (that's right, North Pole) walked on to the Oregon football team in 2009. He wasn't on scholarship, and during his years in Eugene he racked up around $70,000 in student loans.
Standing just 5-foot-9 and weighing 180 pounds, Ebanez never had much of an opportunity to play during meaningful games.
But Ebanez never stopped putting in maximum effort, and as John Canzano wrote in an excellent profile in The Oregonian, Ebanez came to be known as one of the hardest workers on the team.
"Nobody's going to out-work Dane," said running back Kenjon Barner. "Even on his sickest day."
During his time at Oregon, Ebanez was named the Scout Team Player of the Year on offense, defense and special teams. Yet even with all that, Ebanez might not have played in the Fiesta Bowl if it wasn't for the sly move of teammate Keanon Lowe.
As Canzano discovered this week, Lowe faked an injury late in the game so Ebanez could fill in on special teams. When Ebanez took the field, it was his first bowl game action in three eligible seasons at Oregon. The redshirt junior nearly made a tackle during a kickoff with just over two minutes left in the game.
Ebanez also got in the game for Oregon's final play, when the Ducks were in the victory formation.
"It was definitely my highlight," Ebanez told Canzano.
For Ebanez's full story, including more information on his home town of North Pole, Alaska, see here.
(H/T to Business Insider)