Bill O'Brien repeatedly emphasized how important walk-on players (or, as he called them, "run-ons") would be for Penn State while the program operated under sanctions. The best example of that principle may be junior linebacker Von Walker.
Walker began his Penn State career in 2013, the second year of the sanctions, as a walk-on running back. Walker immediately found himself playing time on special teams, and was even operating as a back-up running back at times as a walk-on freshman. After a new staff came in under James Franklin, Walker was moved to linebacker, and he continued to force himself into playing time, compiling 12 tackles (1 for loss) in 2015.
Walker most recently made headlines this offseason in the best possible way, earning a full scholarship with which to finish out his final two years with the Nittany Lions. It's rare for a walk-on player to have the kind of impact Walker has had, and even more so to leave two separate coaching staffs with the same positive impression.
Only 25 days to go.