Noah Underhill tells the story of Larry Cruz. The undraftet, 2nd year wide receiver out of Louisville.
The story of Larry Cruz begins in the small town of Hersey, Pennsylvania. In a city known more for its chocolate then sports, he was only able to be a 2-star recruit going into college. He couldn't get his tape out..nobody would watch it no matter how long he begged. But he got lucky and a scout for Louisville finally came to see him in his final game which left the scout impressed. He told Larry that he should walk-on there, and maybe he would get a chance down the line, so he did. Even though he grew up a Pitt fan and hated Louisville, Larry didn't have any other good choices. He took his opportunity and ran with it.
He ran special teams in his first season with the team. He was a pretty good gunner for them, and he proved that he was willing to do anything to get on the field. Sophomore year he had an opportunity to compete for the 3rd receiver spot, but he got hit in the knee and was out for a few games and never really caught on after that. He became very driven after this. He wanted to finally make it out of his little town and make it big.
Junior year started the breakthrough for Larry. He put on 10 pounds of muscle from the year before and was ready to compete for a significant role. And he did. By the end of the year, Larry was his QB's favorite target and making plays left and right. The problem was that Louisville was bad. Like 4-8 bad. Most overlooked Larry being the only person that could do anything on the team. But he was done with the college scene and declared for the RFL draft.
There was some interest, but most coaches thought he should have stayed another year. He ended up going undrafted but quickly offered a spot at Gunners camp. While waiting to know his fate, he slept on his cousin's couch, who lived an hour and a half away from the camp. But he was still one of the first ones there every day. And it looked like he might have a spot until the team signed another WR Colt Cruise. Larry saw the writing on the wall and was cut.
Larry waited to get another call. But the call didn't come. His agent told him that he needed to prove himself elsewhere and would he consider playing for an indoor football league. It's not where Larry wanted to be, but once again, he didn't have another choice. He signed a contract with a Philadelphia based team and went to work . This was his best stop yet. Back in his home state, he dominated the competition putting up a league-high 15 TDs in 10 games with the team and he won the league MVP. After that, he finally got the call he was looking for. He was invited to Explorers camp, and he has impressed the coaching staff.
The Explorer's WR coach was quoted as saying. "Larry is always there making plays. He just has another level that you can't measure when he gets on the field." Veteran WR Shelton Shepard nicknamed him North Star because of how reliable he is. "It's not terrible." Said Cruz, "I've definitely heard worse. Hopefully, I can live up to it."
It seems like Larry Cruz might get the ball a lot this preseason. There is a lot of talent in that room, but hopefully, for him, he will be able to show his skill on the field.
Noah Underhill is a regular contributor to the RFL Blog. Make sure to give him a like and let him know what you think of his work.