TALLAHASSEE -- On a sweltering summer day in Tallahassee, holder Chris Revell was preparing to give up the ghost.
After years of hard work, sweat and tears, reality was about to get in the way of Revell’s dreams.
“I went up and talked to [coach Jimbo Fisher],” Revell said. “And I just told him you don’t need to take me through two-a-days, I’m not going to be able to be here.”
Revell grew up a Seminoles fan — his grandfather played for the team — and when Fisher came to Tallahassee Chiles High to scout now-Georgia Tech punter Sean Poole, Revell accepted an invitation to walk on without hesitation.
“I started my redshirt freshman season and then I broke my wrist in the BYU game, and I was out after that,” said Revell, who had earned a spot that season as the team’s holder. “Coming in as a walk-on, Coach Fisher tells me that if you start for a year you’ll be on scholarship. So I’m thinking, ‘All right, I’ll have three years on scholarship,’ and then I break my wrist, so I’m a walk-on for another two years.”
Revell was a three-sport star in high school, among the most talented athletes in his class of 2009. He had never endured an injury more serious than a pulled hamstring, but after missing his entire redshirt freshman season, wrist surgery sidelined him for another year.
“If it was my left wrist, I could have still held,” Revell said. “It wouldn’t have bothered me. But it was my right wrist. At first I was just down about it, I just didn’t understand what the Lord’s plan was.”
Revell never lost faith, though. He continued to work hard and pass his classes while working several jobs to put himself through school. Revell worked at times at Home Depot, Subway, a law firm and a couple restaurants ( sometimes simultaneously).
Through his close friendship with FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins, Revell also started leading worship at his church — something he says helped him grow immensely.
But in August, still working three jobs and trying to make enough time to attend class and practice, things were coming to a head.
Revell half-figured his time on the Seminole football team was done when Eddie Gran invited him up to the coach’s offices one morning while he was holding for Hopkins.
“Just how his tone was, I was like, ‘This isn’t good,’ ” joked Revell.
When Revell got upstairs, however, he was met by Fisher, who congratulated him on making it on scholarship.
“All that kid did every day to be able to be on this football team was work 40 hours a week, sometimes more, go to football practice, lift, do all those things and go to school, and keep your GPA up,” Fisher said. “He’d walk in with bags under his eyes, and he wouldn’t quit.”
Said Revell: “If I wouldn’t have gotten the scholarship I wouldn’t be in school right now. I wouldn’t have been able to pay for it. I would have had to take like a year or two off and then maybe come back and try to finish everything up.”
Instead Revell has gotten to share in a piece of history.
This season Revell’s best friend and former roommate Hopkins broke the NCAA all-time scoring record for kickers and has been nominated for the Groza award for the second year in a row. Revell has been holding for him the whole time.
“Just being able to be a part of it and seeing how he’s been a part of my life, I’m like, ‘All right, I’ve got to be perfect so that he can do his thing,’ ” Revell said. “Since the year started, I’m like, ‘All right, I want Dustin to win the Groza.’ It’s awesome to see how things are working out for him.”