Javon Hagan has been a mentor to Jarren Hampton throughout their football careers at Ohio. PHOTO: Ben Weilgopolski/WOUB

Ohio Football: Jarren Hampton — from walk-on to starter for the Bobcats

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ATHENS, OH — Ohio football safety Jarren Hampton is the next walk-on turned starter for the Ohio Bobcats — something the program is getting in a habit of doing.

“There are programs who lean on the guys who have scholarships to get the job done,” redshirt senior captain Javon Hagan said. “But here, whether you’re a walk-on, on partial scholarship or on full scholarship, they look for you to step up to the plate and you never know when your name’s going to be called.”

“No matter where you go, whether you’re a scholarship player or walk-on, you have to work,” redshirt junior safety Jarren Hampton said. ” You can get here and receive a scholarship and if you don’t put into the work, you’ll never see the field. My attitude is that I’m going to grind and that I want to play. I don’t care about the scholarship so much, I just want to get on the field. That’s why I work and going hard in the weight room and meetings everyday. I just want to get better.”

Hampton got better by finding a mentor in Hagan.

“He prepared me a lot,” Hampton said. “I used to sit behind him in the meeting rooms and anytime I had a question, he was the one I asked. I remember when I came on my visit and it was the spring game, and I walked with him the whole time because he wasn’t participating, so I was with him the whole time picking his brain.”

“I was very comfortable with (Hampton) filling in (for graduated senior Kylan Nelson) on this defense,” Hagan said. “It’s the next man up. You always have to be ready. Any questions that he had he asked me and made sure that he was okay.”

Now the two are starting side-by-side in the secondary.

“I felt like he was ready to step up to the plate and fill-in the shoes that  Kylan (Nelson) provided for the defense last year,” Hagan said.

“Just learning from Kylan (Nelson) last year was important,” Hampton said. “He taught me a lot too. He made (playing in the secondary) a lot easier for me. So, when the ball comes my way, I have to take advantage.”

The opportunity that Hampton always looked for is playing out in 2019.