J. Richard “Rick” Drushal, a graduate of West Holmes High School (’03) and current resident of San Jose, California, will be inducted into the College of Wooster’s W Association Hall of Fame on Sept. 21. Rick is a 2007 alumnus of the college and was one of the top Div. III offensive linemen in the country during his time with the Scots. He earned multiple All-American honors, a NCAA postgraduate scholarship, signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns and attended the team’s rookie minicamp in 2007.
Few student-athletes achieved the level of success Rick Drushal did during his time at the College of Wooster, and the two-sport standout’s total package of academic and athletic excellence stood out from the get-go.
Growing up in Lakeville, Ohio with deep ties to the college including grandfather J. Garber Drushal, who served as Wooster’s president from 1967-77, Drushal initially didn’t have the college on his radar, but he said, the “more I looked at other schools, the more Wooster felt like the right place for me. Looking back at the things I learned, relationships I built and the fun that I had has completely validated my decision to choose Wooster.”
Once settled in, Drushal emerged from camp in 2003 as the starting left tackle, a spot he proceeded to hold down for a school-record 42 consecutive games. For his first two years, Drushal helped pave the way for Tony Sutton, whose legendary career as a running back ranks as one of the best ever in NCAA Div. III history to this day.
Wooster’s program reached new heights during a record-breaking 2004 season that included the team’s second North Coast Athletic Conference championship, and first outright one. Thus the Scots qualified for the Div. III championships for the first time in program history, and Wooster topped Aurora University 41-34 before bowing out against Carthage College. Thanks to the offense’s success, publications began to notice the Scots’ imposing 6-4, 305-pound left tackle, and Football Gazette tabbed Drushal for its All-America Team, the first of his five All-America certificates across the various outlets that covered Div. III at the time.
Drushal continued to stand out as a junior with All-America honors from the popular website D3football.com, but his senior year is really when the accolades took off. Headlining the athletic awards was a spot on the coveted American Football Coaches Association All-America Team, a team with just 25 players selected: one at each offensive and defensive position and three specialists. Drushal also was voted to the prestigious Associated Press Little All-America Team and earned a third All-America honor that year from Football Gazette.
The star left tackle’s career continued after walking off the field following a 41-13 win at Kenyon College in 2006 while “celebrating four years of blood, sweat and tears with [his] senior classmates.” Drushal was selected to play in the Aztec Bowl in Mexico and signed a professional contract with the Cleveland Browns, participating in the team’s rookie minicamp. He also won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2007 World Championship of American Football in Japan.
Drushal’s first-class success also was evident in the classroom as the mathematics and computer science double major earned a prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship, at the time the 11th student-athlete in the college’s history to do so. He earned a first-team spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Team as a senior.
“Obviously you don’t have a 3.75 GPA while double-majoring in mathematics and computer science at Wooster unless you’re very intelligent,” then head coach Mike Schmitz said when Drushal signed his professional contract. “Rick [possessed] athleticism and a diversity of athletic experience as a three-sport star in high school and [played] two sports in college. He [had] tremendous feet and great quickness.”
Additionally Drushal was one of the top throwers in the NCAC, earning eight all-conference certificates during his career. Among his track and field highlights included graduating with the program’s record in the hammer throw (125 feet, 10 inches).
Since graduation Drushal’s relocated out west and within the past year started working at Apple Inc. as an ad platforms data insights manager, where he leads a team of engineers in supporting internal data and analytics.
Drushal is married to the former Anne Leigh ’07, a terrific student-athlete in her own right (two-time all-conference field hockey goalie), and the couple has four children: Thea (6), Tripp (3), Evie (1), and Mae (six months).