Louisiana Tech's Boston Scott

Courtesy photo

Louisiana Tech football coach Skip Holtz was finishing a team meeting last December, having covered the team’s academic performance and mapped out a schedule for the upcoming New Orleans Bowl.

Team members thought Holtz was finished, and they were getting up from their seats when the Bulldogs' third-year coach asked them to remain seated for an important announcement.

Holtz resumed his presentation, acknowledging the hard work and persistence of three walk-ons who were being placed on scholarship. Their pictures were beamed on the overhead projector, and the group included running back Boston Scott.

“I was in shock, to say the least,” said Scott, a former Zachary High standout now in his junior year. “There was a big uproar; everyone was cheering. A scholarship wasn’t on my mind at the time.”

Not only has Scott overcome the long odds associated with earning a Division I scholarship, the 5-foot-7, 199-pounder has elevated himself to the team’s second-leading rusher and kickoff return specialist when Louisiana Tech (8-5) meets Navy (9-4) in Friday’s Armed Forces Bowl at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) in Fort Worth, Texas.

His perseverance has been an example for his teammates, who have witnessed Scott’s struggles with Cramp-fasciculation syndrome — a rare muscle condition that leads to involuntary twitching, discomfort and fatigue. Two years after earning a spot on the team, Scott was forced to leave school for part of last spring to deal with the condition, which he never faced in high school.

“I was concerned. It was a struggle,” he said. “Initially, we didn’t know if it was serious. … Just the fear of the unknown. I had to go home and figure out what it was. I was concerned about my health, but football was always on my mind.”

While there’s no known cure, Scott said he has taken medicine for stress and anxiety in hopes of reducing the number of occurrences.

“It’s gotten better,” he said. “I’ve taken care of better care of my body, gotten stronger in weight room.”

Scott couldn’t envision a better place than Louisiana Tech to go to school and play football. Four years ago, though, a playing career in Ruston appeared unlikely.

With minimal interest out of high school, Scott was intent on pursing an engineering degree at Louisiana Tech and was in line at orientation when he received a call from then-Bulldogs running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, who's now at LSU.

Scott had forwarded a copy of his highlight tape to the Bulldogs coaching staff, a long shot that paid off.

“Coach wanted to me come in as a preferred walk-on, and I was invited to (preseason) camp,” Scott said. “I loved football. I was going to show up, practice hard and, if things turned my way, I would run with it.”

Scott has done just that.

After learning under former Tech star Kenneth Dixon, Scott went from one carry his redshirt freshman season to 22 for 268 yards a year ago, including 106 yards in Tech’s win over Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl.

Scott and junior Jarred Craft waged a competitive battle in preseason camp to become the team’s lead running back this season, a position that eventually went to Craft following an injury to Scott.

“He’s invaluable for us right now,” Holtz said of Scott. “We feel we have a two-headed monster at running back. I look at him as a starter and both are juniors with another year to go. That’s encouraging.”

While Craft has rushed for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns, Scott has given the Bulldogs a change-of-pace back — shifty with a low center of gravity — and the results have been solid: 63 carries for 482 yards and five TDs.

Scott also caught 11 catches for 125 yards and gives Louisiana Tech another weapon on special teams with a 21.6-yard average on eight kickoff returns.

“It’s been a long road,” said Scott, who has a 3.2 GPA and expects to graduate with a degree in kinesiology this spring.

“This was the place I needed to be. I believe God has a purpose for me. I’m not here by accident.”