ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A team’s season opener is always special. But when the University at Albany football team takes the field Saturday against Fordham to kick off the 2023 season, that game will be even more significant for one local product.

Former Glens Falls High School standout running back Griffin Woodell will be suiting up for his first game on scholarship for the Great Danes.

Woodell walked on to the team last year, and Friday night his college football dreams came true when he was offered a full scholarship.

Former UAlbany linebacker AJ Mistler, who Woodell shared a close bond with, made the announcement on the scoreboard at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium after the team’s practice Friday.

It was a touching moment that Woodell says will only continue to drive him.

“When AJ was on the team he told way back, like, “Keep workin’. You’ll earn that scholarship. You’ll get what you want,”” said Woodell. “So, when he came on the screen, I was so glad it was him. I mean, I took what he said, and I got it. I’m always gonna be a walk-on in my mind. I’m never gonna work less hard than when I was a walk-on. Having a scholarship changes a lot for me financially, and stuff like that. But I’m gonna keep working.”

Woodell and the Danes square off against Fordham Saturday at 7 p.m.