Virginia Cavaliers football players wave flags while walking into the field.
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The Virginia Cavaliers Just Added a 34-Year-Old Football Player

The Virginia Cavaliers have a new player on their roster, coming into the program as a 34-year-old former Marine pilot.

If you need another reason never to stop following your dreams, look toward Matt Ganyard, a kicker who's officially part of the Virginia Cavaliers college football team.

Walk-on kickers tend to have some interesting backgrounds, but very rarely do you find one with Ganyard's background. The new Cavaliers kicker will be joining the football team at a whopping 34 years old.

Ganyard made his official announcement via Twitter, and if you look at his Twitter bio, you'll see that he is a former Marine Corps Cobra Pilot, a career path that requires ample training.

"Sixteen years later, the dream lives on... I'm truly humbled to announce that at 34 years young, I'm officially a member of the @UVAFootball team. Thank you to @Coach_TElliott @Coach_Gaither @drewmeyer5 @jsperos for this incredible opportunity. Now, it's time to get to work."

Ganyard is disciplined and dedicated, though, as not only is he part of the football team, but he's also an MBA Candidate, per his LinkedIn account.

At 34 years old, you might be wondering if Ganyard is the oldest player to suit up for a Division 1 Power 5 program, so let's explore that.

  • James Stefanou, 32, Colorado Buffaloes: Stefanou joined the Buffaloes program in 2017 as a 29-year-old. The Australian appeared in 29 games from 2017-2020.
  • Tim Frisby, 40, South Carolina: In 2005, Frisby joined the South Carolina Gamecocks at 39 years old as a wide receiver. He appeared in two games and had one catch for nine yards. "It's not something I sought out. I thought I could come in here and try out and, if I was capable of playing, play," Frisby said to The Spokesman-Review. "Really my first three or four weeks in the program where I was unnoticed, that was great. I just wanted to play."

Other players have suited up to play college football, such as Alan Moore (61), Tom Thompson (61), Mike Flynt (59), Joe Thomas Sr. (55), and Bob Schembre (52), but these weren't for Power 5 schools. Still, given their respective ages, it's an incredible achievement.

So, as Ganyard suits up for his first UVA game on September 2 at 1:00 pm ET against the Tennessee Volunteers, it'll be hard not to root for all of the success in the world for him.

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