JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City teenager is heading to college this fall and video games are helping him foot the bill.
McPherson College, a small Kansas school located about 30 minutes outside of Wichita, has offered 18-year-old Bryce Dudenhoeffer a spot on its e-sports team.
He got the message as he was getting ready to start a game, and ,Dudenhoeffer, said it was a dream come true.
"I was just estatic. I think I actually dodged the queue for that game because I was just really happy," he said.
McPherson's initial offer was $3,000. But after coaches actually saw what Dudenhoeffer could do, they upped the scholarship to $20,000.
His mother Melissa Dudenhoeffer said the whole family is still blown away by it all.
"It's been a whirlwind," she said. "It's like cloud 9 all day long. It's exploded into one thing, one opportunity than another opportunity than another opportunity so he's just looking forward to playing the game at college."
Bryce Dudenhoeffer is the first Helias graduate to get an e-sports scholarship. He said the concept of an athletic scholarship to play video games was difficult for some to wrap their heads around at first.
"Whenever I got my scholarship at Helias, a lot of the coaches of the sports teams and academic teams, they were like, 'wait, what? E-sports? What's this?' And I'd have to explain it to them and some of them got on board and some were kind of blowing it off, thinking it was something that was going to come and go," he said.
But Bryce Dudenhoeffer said the only direction he sees e-sports going in, is up.
"E-sports has been really expanding over the last few years and it's definitely the future. More and more colleges are starting to build teams right now because they don't want to miss this because it's going to be the next spectator sport," he said.
According to ESPN, there are 62 colleges around the country that offer e-sports programs. Schools range from Division 1 to NJCAA.
Bryce Dudenhoeffer said he sees e-sports growth potential and wants to position himself the best he can. He said his dream is to coach an e-sports team because, he said, he feels all players deserve guidance.
"No one was really there to hold my hand in the e-sports scene. I have to find every tournament I go to myself, I have to do borderline everything myself," he said.
His parents said they're just along for ride.
Melissa Dudenhoeffer said, "We've kind of had to learn as we're going because we don't know what to expect or how this all works but he's trying to help us along the way."