WINNER!  2012 Reader’s Favorite Gold Award!

“…brutally honest about life as a college football player.  Though Matt Stewart did not write this book seeking praise, I think he deserves it. He could have given up but he didn’t.” 

                              – Readers Favorite 5-Star Review

To purchase a hard copy of “The Walk-On: Inside Northwestern’s Rise From Cellar Dweller To Big Ten Champ” for the low price of $9.99, please press the button below.

To buy the eBook for the Kindle, Nook or iBookstore for $2.99, press on one of the following links below:



 “…a tale equal parts perspiration and inspiration…Engrossing…”

                                                                                                                        – Kirkus Reviews

…this is as honestly-refreshing of an “insider” book as I can recall reading in many years.”

- Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World Herald

This inspiring true story takes you inside a major college football program from a unique point of view: the walk-on. For decades, Northwestern University finished in the bottom of the Big Ten Conference. But new head coach Gary Barnett brought a winning attitude to Evanston and engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in college sports history, leading Northwestern to two Big Ten championships.

Matt Stewart’s experience as a safety mirrored the team.  As a freshman, he walked-on to the team and ended up fifth string on the depth chart. It was a hard road, but Matt never gave up.  With hard work, determination and self-belief, Matt eventually earned a full-ride scholarship and helped Northwestern go from the worst team in the Big Ten to the best.  After four years of working relentlessly to overcome the stigma of being a walk-on, his efforts were rewarded in a remarkable way: a last second interception against Purdue to secure Northwestern’s second consecutive Big Ten title!  Take a journey inside the Northwestern locker room as Matt reveals how he transformed his mind and body to become a successful Division I football player. From a gambling scandal to the death of a star player to the Rose Bowl, “The Walk-On” is a riveting account of how a small school captured the nation’s attention and brought hope to underdogs everywhere.

“…a very brave expression and description of four years in the life of a non-scholarship student athlete…”  

                                     – Gary Barnett, Former NU Football Coach

A portion of the proceeds from the book has been donated to the Matt Hartl Scholarship Foundation.  Hartl was a fullback – an amazingly talented athlete – whose football career and life was cut short from Hodgkin’s Disease.  Thank you for all your support in my endeavor to document an amazing run at Northwestern University.

Here’s what other readers are saying about “The Walk-On”:

“I gave it to my son, Nick, an eighth grader working very hard to (hopefully) play varsity high school football and basketball. Long story short, it made a huge impact. He devoured the book, finishing it in a couple days.” – Janet S.

“Thoroughly enjoyed the inspiring message and the break down of the games – I had to reread some of the text because I was missing some of the words as I was trying to read to fast. A great book to inspire and to let young people know they aren’t alone in the feeling when they go off to college on their own for the first time. Great read.” – Randy J.

“I just finished your book. AWESOME!  I just thought your account of your experience was very honest and inspirational. I learned a lot of things I would’ve never known about the experience of a walk-on. Thanks for a good read!” – Thomas L.

“I thought it was a fantastic account of your time at Northwestern.  Your genuine honesty in the book is quite admirable.  Even the details behind when you played, vs. when you were not asked too.  I found that refreshing.  Congratulations on a great book that contains great messages about life, not just football.   I have already recommended it to several of my folks.”   – Steve W.


Reader’s Choice Award Winner – Nonfiction: Sports

And A Five-Star Book Review!




  1. Matt, This is awesome! So happy you’re project has been put into total action! You should be so proud of yourself!!! I’m going to order one for my father-in-law who coached football at Rockhurst High School for many years. Thank you for letting us know your book is available.

  2. Congratulations, Bro! Your book “The Walk-On” is an amazing read! It reinforces the resiliency required to become a champion. As my older brother, you have always been an inspiration to me. Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to watch you pursue and accomplish many of your dreams, overcoming any excuse. “The Walk-On” was a dream you had in 1997. Today, 15 years later, while pursuing a career and raising a family you still have accomplished what many aspire to do, but seldom take the opportunity to do. You remind us that there is still that Champion burning inside each of us, waiting to be turned loose. Thank you for sharing this unbelievable true life story with us.

  3. I found this book hard to put down. This is a story about what it’s really like be a college football player. It’s not just the glory of Saturday games but the hard work it takes to get there and the psychology needed to win.

  4. “The Walk On” was an extremely inspirational story for me! As I pursue my own goals and tasks in life, no matter how small, I dig down deep and remind myself that if Matt can accomplish such tough obstacles and find success, so can I! I was completely inspired while reading his story. It makes you root for the little guy! You may not always be the fastest, the biggest or the best, but if you work hard enough and believe in yourself, anything can become possible! Thank you for sharing such a memorable and inspirational event in your life!!

  5. I remember you behind the camera and reporting. You have grown into an awesomie family man and I knew you’d go far. I’m going to order my copy. But…how are you going to autograph it for me? :)

  6. Matt I just heard your interview with KK on 810. I grew up in the NW Suburbs of IL. My older brother was very good friends with Keith Lozowski in high school and Jack Freeman was one of my dad’s best friends. This NW team was a big part of our lives and just an incredibly inspirational story for all of us. I am really looking forward to your book and appreciate you sharing your story. Good luck with everything.

  7. I saw your interview and this would be the perfect book for a high school graduation gift. I will buy it from one of the sources, but was wondering if it would be possible to get it autographed. Please let me know asap. Thank you.

  8. I just finished reading your book. It was excellent. You did a very good of describing the life of a Division I football player. I almost felt like I was in the locker room, on the practice field or on the playing field. I’m also very impressed with the sacrifices you made to win your scholarship and remain on the team. It almost made me a Northwestern fan but I can’t go there because I’m a life long Husker fan who lives in Lincoln. Best wishes to you and your family.

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