RUSTON, La. -- Louisiana Tech's football program has gotten in the spirit of the holiday season this week as head coach Sonny Dykes announced three walk-on players would be receiving scholarships starting in the winter 2011 quarter. D.J. Banks, Craig Johnson and Hunter Lee will all go on scholarship next week.
Banks, a transfer from Tulane, had to sit out the 2011 season due to NCAA transfer rules but will have two years eligibility starting in 2012. Johnson and Lee have been two standout walk-ons this season for the Bulldogs.
"These three walk-ons have made a huge contribution to our program this year," Dykes said. "Hunter Lee and Craig Johnson have been very productive for us on the field while DJ Banks is probably the best scout team player I have ever been around."
Lee has ran the ball for 438 yards on 89 carries and one touchdown this season so far, averaging 4.9 yards per carry while also catching 11 passes for 124 yards, averaging 11.3 yards per catch. His 23-yard reception at Nevada last week kept Tech's scoring drive going as the Bulldogs drove 92 yards in 1:38 for its game-winning touchdown, capping an improbable comeback after trailing by 17 points with less than 13 minutes remaining. Despite leading his Texas 5A district in rushing his senior year, Lee did not receive a single scholarship offer out of high school.
"I was overwhelmed and it was a great time," Lee said of when he was told of his scholarship. "I am so thankful to be here right now. For Coach Dykes to give me a scholarship is amazing. I love it."
Johnson has recorded 22 total tackles on the year as a safety with one tackle for a loss of four yards. He has had one interception returned for 19 yards, credited with four pass break-ups and has forced one fumble.
"Our walk-on program is critical to the success of our program and is something we will continue to develop," said Dykes. "There are always a lot of good players overlooked in this state and we hope Louisiana Tech is a destination where those players can come to, get a chance and earn a scholarship."
Several Tech starters are former walk-ons such as center Stephen Warner and receiver/returner Andrew Guillot. The most notable former walk-on at Louisiana Tech is current Green Bay Packers defensive back Tramon Williams, who won a Super Bowl and was invited to play in the Pro Bowl last year.
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