UNLV senior defensive tackle Ammir Aziz worked hard for his moment, even if he didn’t see it coming.
So when Aziz opened an envelope after Friday morning’s practice at Rebel Park, he was shocked to see he had been awarded a football scholarship.
“No way!” Aziz exclaimed before being mobbed by his roaring teammates.
It was quite a way to end the next-to-last spring practice of the year. UNLV will play its spring game at noon Saturday at Peter Johann Memorial Field. There is no charge for admission. Schedule posters and magnets will be available when gates open at 11 a.m.
UNLV will play two 25-minute segments, with the starters facing each other in the first part and the reserves also going against each other. The starters will compete against the backups in the second half.
Aziz, who went to Durango High School, isn’t expected to be in the rotation at defensive tackle, but he could contribute in other ways, such as on special teams.
He was awarded the scholarship for approaching each day as if he was starring on Saturdays.
Aziz has worked as an overnight security guard for the MGM Grand and would get off his shift and arrive at campus in time for the 7 a.m. team meeting. He would stand to make sure he was awake and alert.
“He’s put himself through school,” Sanchez said. “He’s worked the entire time. Now for him to get a full scholarship and to be able to have that taken care of, it’s awesome. It’s a great story, and he’s so deserving.”
UNLV coaches didn’t simply hand Aziz the envelope. They brought in Farrell Dillon, who performs in the “Masters of Illusion” show at Bally’s, to involve Aziz in an act in which Dillon had to get out of a straitjacket while balancing on a skateboard over a cylinder.
After Dillon freed himself, he asked Aziz to remove the envelope that was attached to the performer’s chest.
“This means the world,” Aziz said later. “I get to spend an extra year with my brothers. I don’t have to worry about bills. This is a blessing from God. I love this team. I love my coaches. I love God.”
UNLV spring game
What: Two 25-minute halves
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Peter Johann Memorial Field