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ARLINGTON (KRLD-AM) – For one player taking part in Monday’s Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium, it’s the culmination of a whirlwind season.

Western Michigan senior Kasey Carson entered training camp as he had the previous three seasons — as a walk-on. That all changed at the conclusion of one morning practice with the help of none other than Sylvester Stallone.

“I forgot one thing that’s really important — YOU have gotten a full-ride scholarship, my man,” Stallone said in a video message that was played inside Waldo Stadium at the conclusion of a morning practice back in August.

As you can see in the video that quickly went viral, players were obviously excited for him. Carson says so was the university as a whole.

“It was overwhelming, all the support I got from my friends and just people on campus,” Carson says. “It was really cool to see that and see the university and the community rally together.”

Carson says he took the time to thank the “Rocky” star for that moment.

“I wrote him and (billionaire businessman and former Western Michigan placekicker) Alec Gores personal letters, and they both got back to me with emails, just saying they were happy to be a part of it.”

Carson also responded on the field with a solid performance as a backup linebacker — playing in all 13 games prior to the Cotton Bowl, registering 14 tackles and an interception.

He says it’ll be surreal to play on one of football’s biggest stages.

“Running out of the tunnel will be awesome,” Carson says, “but then you have to reel it in and play the game and we’ll see what happens.”

Monday’s game will mark the end of Carson’s playing career; and while he says his focus is to land a job after graduating with a degree in supply chain management, he’d like to remain involved in football.

“I’d love to… be able to teach kids not only football but life lessons that I learned along the way, too,” Carson says.

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