Nebraska Walk On: Zach Ruiz

While many want to test their athletic abilities against the best in Lincoln, there are players like Zach Ruiz who also want to test their academic abilities as well. Ruiz, a 6-foot-3 and 210-pound quarterback/athlete from Beatrice (Nebr.) had a chance to take a scholarship to play football in college. Instead, he will test his mind and body in Lincoln as a walk-on.

There are over 25 confirmed walk-ons and every one of their stories in one way or another is amazing. Chances to get financial assistance to help them to go to school only to say yes at just the chance to become a Cornhusker.

Zach Ruiz is part of that group. The 6-foot-3 and 210-pound, with 4.8/40 speed, quarterback/athlete from Beatrice (Nebr.) may start out playing quarterback in Lincoln, but will more than likely move to another position.

"I played quarterback last year," Ruiz said. "I was 100-for-170 with 16 touchdowns, six interceptions and 1,650 yards passing. We ran a lot of single-back and I-formation. I was an all-conference, all-district and all-state selection for Class B."

"Coach Barney Cotton told me that I would probably start out at quarterback and they put the athlete tab on me too to maybe move me over to defense. Maybe outside linebacker or something. I would have to get bigger though."

Ruiz isn't picky. If the coaches at Nebraska feel like it's in his best interests to move to another position then Ruiz will likely move. Ruiz has the right mindset about it all. "I would play wherever they thought I would be the best at."

Ruiz is a big guy. His physical size gives him a huge advantage over most of the other Class B competition that he goes up against. It's no wonder that his biggest strength is just his aggressive play.

"Probably my physical strength. I like to initiate contact with people. I like to go at people and get yards. I just like to be aggressive."

Ruiz has a chance to take a scholarship, even might have had a chance to walk-on at a Big 12 North school, but the challenge to go to Lincoln to test his mind and body was too much to pass up.

"Nebraska-Omaha and Colorado School of Mines both offered me a scholarship. I also got some interest from Missouri to walk-on potentially."

"Academically, I want to be an engineer and they have a good engineering program. The idea of being a Cornhusker is taking my ability to the highest level. It's something that I want to do. It's a big-time program."

To get a scholarship to Colorado School of Mines is a feat in itself. Academically, Ruiz carries a 3.92 GPA, is ranked 7 out of 162 and scored a 26 on his ACT.

Besides being born and raised in Nebraska, Ruiz's parents are both from Nebraska with his mom having attended Nebraska. "My mom and dad both grew up in Nebraska and my mom attended Nebraska."


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