By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Eastern Michigan University sophomore wide receiver Hassan Beydoun of Dearborn was surprised with an official football scholarship before the team lunch on Christmas.
The EMU football team selected names in early December for a gift exchange that took place at the team hotel in before the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit when Beydoun received the box containing his scholarship letter.
“I get my gift and I start opening it up,” he said in an EMU Football interview. “First of all I’m shaking the box I’m thinking there’s nothing in it then I opened it up, I see a letter in there. I’m thinking he probably did something a little funny — it’s Tony, Tony gave it to me and then right when I read it I see that my nickname is spelled wrong — ‘Hass’ they spelled it as ‘has.’ It took me a minute to process it and then Eddie was looking like Hass read, so I start reading it until I see ‘official scholarship.’”
The letter was from Head Coach Chris Creighton which said that due to Beydoun’s hard work and dedication to the program he earned himself an official scholarship, an EMU athletics press release said.
Beydoun first enrolled at EMU not planning to continue his football playing career. After seeing a walk-on opportunity that was posted online, he went for a tryout and was later invited to be a member of the team after that walk-on camp.
When asked what it meant for him to go from a student not planning to continue playing football to seeing a walk-on opportunity posting online and then attending a tryout where he was later invited to be a member of the team, he said it meant everything.
“It means everything, not just for me,” he said “I know a lot of people back in my city, they always ask me, ‘How’d you get here?’ and I just say, ‘Hard work.’ I feel like I’m also an inspiration to others so it means a lot to me but a lot of other people too back at home.
“Basically just keep working no matter what. You could be told that you’re not good enough or whatever, but you just have to ignore it — in one ear and out the other and just keep working.”
Beydoun said his mother started crying when he told his parents the news, and that he held back his tears, and his father was so excited. He added that it was the best Christmas ever for him with the surprise scholarship and playing in a bowl game in Detroit, just minutes from his hometown.
In 12 games this season, Beydoun had 21 receptions for 236 yards, a touchdown and caught his first career touchdown pass in a victory over Central Connecticut State Sept. 21.
Beydoun was earlier this year nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field, according to the EMU athletics press release.
Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])