Walk-ons usually don’t generate much interest on their own team and definitely not with the national media. But Tom Hruby isn’t your typical walk-on. In fact, there is nothing typical about Hruby.
Hruby is a 32-year old active Navy SEAL, who is attending Northwestern full time and trying to impress Pat Fitzgerald to eventually become a member of the team.
Hruby already achieved one goal. He’s definitely caught the attention of the Wildcats’ head coach.
“I know I couldn’t do it,” Fitzgerald told the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Seth Gruen. “He’s a man’s man.
“He was relentless, absolutely relentless, like you would suspect from a SEAL.”
Hruby is attempting to earn a spot on the roster as a linebacker and special teams ace. These may not sound like lofty goals, but Hruby wants to continue to push himself on and off the field. His days typically start at 6 a.m. and finish by 8:30 p.m. With the little personal time he has, Hruby tries to spend as much time as he can with his wife and three children. Hruby’s routine is the definition of discipline and determination.
“I don’t feel like where I’m at today is some outstanding or amazing thing,” Hruby said. “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.”
As a SEAL, Hruby has served on missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Whether or not Hruby earns a spot on the Wildcats’ roster, he’s will serve as an inspiration for his service to the country and how he’s chosen to chase his dream. Hopefully, Hruby’s chase will result in playing on Saturdays and running down on the Wildcats’ kick-off team to tackle his next obstacle.