USC longsnapper Jake Olson is on a mission. He is working toward becoming the first blind college football player to play in a division I game.
He took a big step forward on Saturday when he suited up and successfully completed two field goal snaps in the team’s spring scrimmage.
“When I first ran out there and the crowd cheered, I had to fight back tears,” Olson told the Associated Press.
Olson lost his left eye to retinal cancer when he wasn’t even a year old. At 12, he lost his sight completely. Olson became a staple on campus shortly before he had surgery on his second eye when then USC coach Pete Carroll invited him out to watch practice.
Since then, he has dreamed of playing for the Trojans.
He snapped for his high school team in Orange County, walking to the line with his hands on his teammates before taking care of his job. After enrolling at USC, he joined the Trojans in practice last season on a special scholarship, repeatedly delivering strong snaps in workouts.
Former USC coach Steve Sarkisian repeatedly said he hoped to get Olson into a real game under the right circumstances later in his career. Sarkisian was fired last October, but Helton shares his former boss’ hope to reward Olson at some point in the next few years. (Associated Press)
Here’s Jake’s perspective on Saturday’s performance: