Lavar Arrington: “A lot of people don’t realize that I’m the ‘Waterboy.’ I am the man who inspired the play of the Waterboy. I always tell the story and people don’t believe it until they look it up. Adam Sandler, when he was studying football to learn about the part he was going to play in this movie, he’s a big Penn State fan and came to Penn State to watch the linebackers of ‘Linebacker U’, and more specifically, LaVar Arrington. In fact, in the movie, he wears number nine, which is my high school number. It was pretty cool because he spent a few days watching and studying what we were doing. It’s funny because if you look at some of the things he does in the game – it’s over-embellished and it’s Hollywood obviously – but he was doing the same exact stuff I was doing when I was playing real games in college. He was leaping, he was hurdling over people, his reckless abandon was something that he was studying from me. I’ll never forget talking to him, like every other word he used was a curse word, and he would just apologize for how much he was cursing and couldn’t help it. It was such a cool interaction. I'm not the ‘MAMA SAID!...’ part of the Waterboy but I am the inspired play and movement on the field at the linebacker position.” (Full Audio Above)
Former All-Pro NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington had quite the revealing admittance on Fox Sports Weekends on Sunday, explaining to Mike Harmon that Adam Sandler’s iconic ‘Waterboy’ (1998) character was actually directly inspired by Arrington’s likeness while he was at Penn State.
Much like Sandler’s portrayal of college football star ‘Bobby Boucher’ on the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs, Arrington was one of the most ferocious and intimating defensive players of the era, often gaining acclaim on highlight reels for his reckless, yet dominating performances on the field.
Arrington was a two-time All-American for the Penn State Nittany Lions in 1998 and 1999 and won the Butkus, Bednarik, and Lambert Awards his final season in college, which culminated with Arrington being selected with the second pick of the 2000 NFL Draft to the formerly named Washington Redskins.
Check out the segment above as Arrington details how Sandler was a huge Penn State football fan, and how he was tasked with spending time with the PSU linebacker corps before filming to better understand the position.