College is a transformable time during most people’s lives. Away from home, surrounded by new faces and confronted with new challenges on a daily basis. Picking the right college is critical in that process.
For former Spider football student-athlete Jacob Ruby, Richmond was the perfect choice.
“Richmond is too good of a place to pass up. My time there prepared me for challenges that have been thrown my way since I graduated, both athletically and academically. If you allow it to, Richmond sets you up for success in life,” Ruby said.
Ruby is currently living out every kids’ dream of playing professionally. He’s a full-time starter on the offensive line of the Montreal Alouettes, who plays in the East Division of the Canadian Football League.
Now in his second professional season, the London, Ontario native has settled into a starting role with Montreal, who is just two games out of a playoff spot with five weeks to play.
“This year has been quite different for me, solely based on the fact that I’ve started every game this year. Last year was really about learning and growing into the life as a professional football player, this year, I’ve spent much more time taking care of the body and prepping for each game, week to week,” Ruby said.
Transition is something that Ruby was used to from his time as a Spider. During his years on campus, he played for three head coaches and was a critical part of the program’s shift into the Coach Rocco era, an era that Ruby believes could become even more special than it already has been.
“I know I’m biased, but I truly believe that Coach Rocco and his staff are the best FCS coaches in the country,” Ruby said. “The attention to detail and leadership given by Coach Rocco and his staff are outstanding. As a student-athlete, there’s no better place to be. The coaches genuinely care about you and really do everything they can to help you not only earn a degree to put on your wall, but also to earn championship rings.”
Coming from a different country and being in a completely new environment, Ruby, who’s wife Blair is also a former Spider and a field hockey alum, learned plenty of lessons during his time at Richmond that he still carries with him to this day.
“I have three main lessons that I apply to my daily life because of my time at Richmond.
1) The more you put into something, the more you get out – I’ve always been a hard worker, it’s how I grew up, but learning how to be a leader through the way you work is something that I acquired at Richmond. The more invested, the more work we put into not only football, but in class as well, the more successful you’ll be in both aspects and that translates directly to life after college.
2) A new definition of toughness – Being tough isn’t just being able to take a hit or play through injury, it’s doing things the right way when no one is looking. It’s handing in papers on time when you have to finish it and stay up until 4 in the morning to do so. It’s not missing class the next day even though you’re dog tired. Those components are just as big a part as to what tough really is, which is something I learned and valued during my time at Richmond.
3) Earn the right to win – During my career at Richmond, one of our slogans was “win today”. Coach McCorkle would always say that starts by putting your feet on the floor. If you get up when your alarm goes off and you put your feet on the floor, you’ve got a chance. To win a football game, that starts with workouts, film and meetings, not just practice. To win in the classroom, that starts with doing your work, readings and assignments so that you can succeed on exams. The same goes for life, if you want to win or be successful, you have to prepare and earn it.”