Walk-on Wildcat

As a redshirt sophomore, 2015 BVNW graduate Dalton Schoen continues his football career as a Kansas State Wildcat.


Illustration by Gavin Mullin

2015 BVNW graduate Dalton Schoen has made a name for himself at Kansas State after walking on to the Wildcats roster.

Walker Johnson, Writer

Dalton Schoen lines up as a wide receiver during the second quarter of Kansas State University football’s season-opening game against Central Arkansas. At the snap of the ball, Schoen streaks down the field, gets behind the defenders and watches the long pass into his hands. He outruns the last opposing player and strides into the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown.

While this Sept. 2 game may have marked the 2015 BVNW graduate’s first touchdown as a Wildcat, Schoen caught seven touchdowns as a Husky. During his time at BVNW, Schoen also collected over 1,000 all-purpose yards and lettered in football, basketball and baseball.

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Former BVNW head football coach Mike Zegunis said being involved with three sports made Schoen different than many other student athletes.

“I knew that him being a multiple sport athlete made him special,” Zegunis said. “In today’s age, you don’t see that as much because a lot of kids just choose one sport.”

Schoen’s participation in three varsity sports led to his nomination as a 2014 Wendy’s High School Heisman national finalist.

According to the Wendy’s High School Heisman website, the award goes out to high school students who lead their teammates, classmates and communities.

“That was a really good experience. I was really fortunate to get to do that just because so many people submit applications,” Schoen said. “It’s also a little bit of luck too, there’s countless kids who were worthy of the award.”

In addition to his athletic ability, Zegunis said Schoen also excelled in the classroom.

“He was a really smart young man that got really good grades,” Zegunis said. “Very, very few times do you see someone that can be so good at so many things like Dalton.”

Zegunis said Schoen’s dedication and self-motivation was what really set him apart.

“He was a guy that would try to outwork people,” Zegunis said. “If he dropped the ball or he didn’t run a good route, that upset him and that would motivate him to work harder and fix it.”

Schoen was chosen as a captain of the Husky football team his senior year. BVNW Wide Receivers Coach Tobin Sample said Schoen led by both his words and actions.

“He was almost like another coach out there on the field,” Sample said. “He would let us know what the defense was doing when he saw from the field vantage point. He was just very intelligent and very football savvy.”

Although he netted over 1,000 all-purpose yards his senior year and broke the state record for receiving yards in a single game, with 380 yards in a game against Bishop Miege, Schoen said he did not receive any scholarship offers from schools he felt were great fits for him. It was not until he received an offer to play as a walk-on at Kansas State University that he committed to playing college football.

Zegunis and Sample said they felt Schoen could have success, even as a walk-on, because of his work ethic.

It was this same work ethic, Schoen said, that caused him to get up at 6:00 a.m. everyday before school to go to the gym. He said this made the transition to college football much easier for him because the Wildcats had to get up early for weight training too.

“That’s a really tough time, I feel like, for kids in our program here at K-State,” Schoen said. “I had to make that transition to coming in and lifting in the morning, then to going to class, then having practice, then having to study, but I feel like the schedule I had going on Northwest did a really good job preparing me for that.”

Fellow 2015 BVNW graduate Zack Zegunis, who was Northwest’s quarterback their senior year, also attends KSU and said Schoen is still as dedicated as he was in high school.

“That’s honestly why he’s been successful,” Zack said. “He’s one of the hardest working guys I knew throughout high school and he’s continuing to work hard and he’s getting his opportunities and when he gets his opportunities, he’s done very well.”

Growing up as a K-State fan, Schoen said being able to play football in Manhattan has been an incredible opportunity.

“It’s kind of been a dream,” Schoen said. “My goal ever since getting here has been to do whatever I can do to contribute to the team success and to be able to do that on the field this season has been unreal.”

Schoen is currently studying Mechanical Engineering and said he plans to get a job in this field after leaving K-State. However, he has not completely abandoned the idea of playing football professionally.

“I didn’t even know at the start of the season if I was gonna get to play and to be honest I really didn’t think I would,” Schoen said. “Right now I’m gonna focus on school and football and just try to not have those aspirations because I don’t think it’s very realistic, but I guess you never really know.”

While Schoen continues his football career at KSU, he said each of his high school coaches helped make him into the player he is today.

“Each of them have a building block somewhere inside of me,” Schoen said. “I think all of them at some point have done something that changed me in someway.”