Tom Hruby doesn't see his situation attempting to walk on at Northwestern as a defensive end as something outstanding or amazing. Rather, he's trying something that seems against all odds.
The latter is certainly true. If the former isn't, at the very least, Hruby is unique. After all, he's a 32-year-old who is married with three kids. Oh, and he's also an active Navy SEAL.
“I don’t feel like where I’m at today is some outstanding or amazing thing,” Hruby told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s just more of a challenging route . . . the way I kind of think about finding and accepting and trying to take on these challenges that most people would probably say are impossible, one, or very unlikely or just plain dumb.”
He's also the same age that Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald was ... when Fitzgerald became the Wildcats' coach in 2006.
2006 is also the year when Hruby became a Navy SEAL. He joined SEAL Team 1 and was a breacher, which according to the Navy SEAL website "is the authority on all mechanical and explosive entry issues."
He's currently a SEAL instructor at the Great Lakes Naval Station and saved up his leave to participate in Northwestern's training camp. He played football in high school and after "falling apart as a person" when he was in the latter stages of high school, he started training to become a SEAL and married his wife Jen.
He enrolled at Northwestern last year after taking the SAT and has a dorm room on campus. He spends weekends with Jen and their children, as the family lives with his mother after they moved back from Wisconsin.
If he makes the team, he hopes to play on special teams. He figures the mentality he gained during SEAL training will help.
“What’s the next step? How do we get out of here? And you’ve just got to stick to those thoughts, stick to what’s important, stick to what you know and just kind of have an attitude,” he said. “We all have an attitude of we’re always going to survive. There’s almost nothing that can beat us.”
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