The first time Reggie Rusk left his home state of Texas, he was 18 years old and on his way to play football for a junior college in California, where he experienced some of the best times of his life. He hadn’t planned to play in college, and he certainly didn’t plan to play in the NFL. In fact, Reggie wasn’t thinking too much about his future. But a new high school coach was hired-on during Reggie’s senior year, and he changed Reggie’s mindset.
“I’d never even been out of the state, and all of a sudden I was heading to California and experiencing all sorts of new things, and it allowed me to grow up. I had a family in that team, a brotherhood, and we started winning national championships together.” Reggie soon had offers from USC and University of Kentucky, and he chose to continue his football career in Kentucky.
“My experience at University of Kentucky taught me how to be resilient and work towards goals. I wasn’t getting the play time I felt I deserved, and rather than give up, I decided to earn the respect from my coaches and teammates. I started watching films and became a student of the game. Before long, I led the team in tackles, and at the end of the season, I had the most tackles of any player in the Southeastern Conference.” Reggie’s drive and determination helped him land a 7th round draft pick with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and five year career with the NFL.Reggie is now retired from the NFL, but sports is still the center of his life, as well as kids. “On the advice of a friend, I decided to start a sports training business for kids, and now it’s evolved into a nonprofit called Stay Recruited. I understand that a lot of kids have no mentors or direction; I saw an opportunity to make an impact by helping them envision a future for themselves. I work with them on building great character, giving back to the community, and keeping their grades up. I teach them how to apply for colleges, send letters to coaches, and take them on visits to colleges so they can envision themselves on campus.”
Helping athletes get recruited is not Reggie’s sole vision.“I realize not every kid is going to end up being a collegiate athlete, but I value sports as a great overall youth development tool. Sports keeps kids from going in the wrong direction, and sports allows me to connect with these kids. Everyone is going to hang up their cleats at some point, so we discuss options and provide job training and entrepreneurship programs. Kids can be trained and ready to hit the job market in six weeks through our programs, earning $60,000/year.”
In addition to managing his nonprofit, Reggie started an NFL Flag football franchise and is now working on bringing flag football to underserved communities in Texas, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club. “I initially started a flag franchise as a business opportunity, but I want all kids to have the opportunity to participate. Working with Every Kid Sports, I can give lots of kids access to the sport that otherwise wouldn’t be able to play. I have a bigger vision now, to see how many kids we can impact through this sport, as well as others. The fact that they can apply for the Every Kid Sports Pass four times per year is incredible, and I’m going to encourage them to keep playing!”
Well played, Reggie!
– Every Kid Sports