Walk-on Carl Vergari- 2010
N.Y. walk-on goes for ring with Texas
By Lenn Robbins
January 6, 2010 | 5:00am
C.A. VERGARI Unlikely Texas receiver.
PASADENA, Calif. — C.A. Vergari cringes when he hears the comparisons to Rudy.
He is not a quaint story, not a tackling dummy, not a poor kid from a small town who dreamed of playing for his family’s favorite college football program.
The only similarity between the former Notre Dame walk-on Dan “Rudy” Ruettiger and Vergari is that both had to overcome hardship to make their friends and family Texas-size proud.
“When he played in his first game, I don’t know who cried more, me or my [oldest] son [Bohn],” his mother, Jane Vergari, told The Post. “For four years he’s given me something to do every fall. I never thought I’d be wearing cowboy boots, but that team has become part of our family and we feel like part of the Texas family.”
Carl Andrew Vergari is the purest part of the Texas football team — a senior walk-on wide receiver from Bronxville who never thought he would play college ball.
But Vergari has always known what he wants. After quarterbacking tiny Bronxville High to the New York state playoffs as a senior, Vergari decided on a college experience completely different from what he was accustomed to.
Vergari opted for Texas’ big campus — and no football. But when he watched the Longhorns win the 2005 BCS title with a stunning upset of USC, he knew the football itch still needed scratching.
“I love the game,” Vergari said. “It wasn’t about playing time. I just loved being part of a team.”
Vergari began working out at Forme Rehabilitation in Scarsdale. When tryouts for walk-ons were held in the summer of 2006, some 60 candidates came out.
“My son [Bohn] and I made a $20 bet that he wouldn’t make it,” Jane Vergari said. “Not that he wasn’t determined, but it just seemed so improbable — everyone wanted to be on the team.”
For three days Vergari went through the Rudy treatment. Then he was given a helmet. Vergari was one of eight walk-ons to make the squad.
“We couldn’t practice without them,” Texas coach Mack Brown said of the walk-ons. “We have a wall, Warrior Wall, and we put a sticker next to the players’ names who had a good week. We do that every Sunday.”
Vergari has gotten a sticker each week.
This would have given his father, Bohn, tremendous pride, but leukemia claimed his life in 2002.
Vergari’s older brother, Bohn Jr., got out of the Twin Towers in time. The stress, doctors said, ignited the father’s disease.
So Bohn Sr. never got to see his son play this season against UTEP and Kansas.
“A lot of kids might have given up, or taken a different path,” Bohn Jr. told The Post. “It took a lot of heart to do what he did.”