Why Northwestern’s Tom Hruby is the player to root for in 2014

Why Northwestern’s Tom Hruby is the player to root for in 2014
August 10, 2014, 4:00 pm
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John Paschall

Between the unionization movement at Northwestern and the Ed O’Bannon Trial, the everyday lives of college athletes has been put under a microscope, analyzing everything from what they eat to how much sleep each player gets at night.

But for NU defensive lineman Tom Hruby, the time commitments of football and school are only small pieces of the puzzle. 

Hruby, 32, is an active Navy SEAL, a husband and a father of three children. He arguably has more on his plate than any other athlete, collegiate or professional.

Listed as a junior, Hruby faces the enormous task of walking on to a Big Ten football team. But as he told the Chicago Sun-Times, challenges are something he’s become accustomed to throughout his life.

“I don’t feel like where I’m at today is some outstanding or amazing thing,” Hruby told the 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.”

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When he’s not hitting the books or the practice field, Hruby is a SEAL instructor at Great Lakes Naval Station in Great Lakes, Ill.

Hruby’s best bet to earn playing time in Evanston would be securing a spot on the starting special teams unit. It won’t be easy for the 32-year old, but he’s already made a lasting impression on Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

“He was relentless, absolutely relentless, like you would suspect from a SEAL,” Fitzgerald said.