This morning we published a feature I wrote on senior safety Ben Butterfield, who recently was awarded a scholarship along with receiver Chad Delaney.
Butterfield is one of two brothers, and both — Ben and his older brother Brian — walked on at Oregon out of Sherwood (Ore.) High School and eventually earned a scholarship. Says a lot about the family that it produced two boys with that kind of persistence, to use UO coach Mark Helfrich's term.
But while the Butterfields are rare, they're not quite unique. As the story also noted, the Weaver brothers, Jed and Dan, each walked on and later earned a ride. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Weavers are also Oregon natives, from Redmond; you'd expect the Ducks to draw walk-ons from in-state, given the lower tuition costs, but guys from Oregon seem to have a little something extra, too, pride in the program and killer work ethic.
Another recent brother tandem, Mike and Chris DiVincenzo, nearly did the same. Mike, a defensive end, walked on in 2005 and was on scholarship as a fifth-year senior in 2009; you might recall he returned an interception for a touchdown late in the 2007 Sun Bowl. Chris walked on in 2006 but had his career cut short due to injury prior to his redshirt senior year.
I owe a hat tip to Kurt Liedtke, an Oregon fan who has done historical work on the program for a couple of different websites, and who helped brainstorm other brother combinations. Also to Tyler Hinton in the UO compliance office for researching the scholarship status of all these guys during their careers.