It's the season of giving, and one Tennessee walk-on just received a present he'd always wanted: A football scholarship.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones awarded the scholarship to tight end Alex Ellis in unassuming fashion. During a team meeting, Jones said he would be acknowledging some of the top practice performers on the team with early bowl game gifts. He then called Ellis down, to the claps and whoops of his teammates.
Jones handed Ellis a present to unwrap, and inside Ellis found a folded up piece of paper clipped to a pen. As soon as he pulled it out, he and his teammates knew what he was getting. His teammates stood up, and Ellis shook his head and hugged his coach.
"I've been dreaming about this my whole life, for real," Ellis says.
Even though it's a stunt teams across the country pull every holiday season, it's no less heartwarming to see athletes get rewarded for their hard work -- particularly when they've been paying their school bills on their own.
Tennessee faces Iowa in a bowl game Jan. 2 in Jacksonsville, Fla.