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Thomas Jefferson Scott enrolls at Thorpe University with the intention of becoming a doctor. His plans are sidelined, however, when football coach Daisy Adams realizes that despite Tommy's small size, his remarkable running ability would make him an invaluable addition to the team. Although Tommy had intended to work his way through school, Adams easily tempts the youngster with free tuition. Tommy joins the football squad and, over the next two years, becomes a hero because of his ability to elude tackles and score touchdowns. His talent earns him the nickname "Snakehips," and in the summer following his sophomore year, Adams arranges for him to go to the Maine woods for training. There, Tommy trains while pretending to be a bond salesman to avoid publicity. Tommy makes the acquaintance of a former collegiate football star who now works as a clerk, and the youth is shocked into contemplating his own future. Fearing that the same fate may befall him, Tommy points out to the football manager that while he is worth a million dollars to the school, football has forced him to give up his goal of being a doctor. Tommy then threatens to quit the team if he is not given $50,000. The manager arranges with Sedgwick, a Thorpe alumnus who is an investment broker, to form a holding company named after Tommy and based on his reputation, which will sell stock and invest money. Thousands of shares are sold, the majority of which go to Tommy's friends back home. One week before the biggest game of the season, Tommy is informed by the district attorney that the incompetent Sedgwick has lost all of the funds in the stock market. Unable to raise enough cash to replace the funds, Sedgwick kills himself, and scandal looms over Tommy. Tommy's life becomes even more complicated when Stephen Whitney III, the father of Tommy's fiancée Dorothy, tries to bribe him with $50,000 to end the engagement. Tommy rejects the overture at first, but then thinks about the investors who will be ruined because of him. He accepts $100,000 from Whitney and gambles his career and romance on being able to restore the lost investments. At the big game, Thorpe falls behind during the first half, and Tommy is booed by the crowd. Just as Tommy rejoins his teammates after half-time, newspapers arrive bearing the story that Tommy sent the $100,000 to the district attorney to protect the investors. The fans cheer Tommy, who, spurred on by their approval, scores the winning touchdown. His devoted mother witnesses Tommy's victory, and all ends well the next day when Tommy marries Dorothy.