HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For most of the Rainbow Warriors, spring practices are the first time in months that they work out with the team, but for one former Marine, this year's camp marks a return to the gridiron after six years away.
The last team Jacob Yanak played for was Ashwaubenon High School, in 2010. Rather than pursuing football after graduating, Yanak made the decision to join the Marines. After completing his service and moving to Hawaii, the Wisconsin native decided to get back in the game.
"It's been a while, but I figured I had a little juice left in the tank to see if I could do it," said the sophomore tight end. "Might as well not have any regrets."
Head coach Nick Rolovich is glad that did. Not only does the 6'4'' 235 pounder add depth for the 'Bows at tight end, he also leads his teammates, without having to say a word.
"On that first day in pads, he fumbled and we put him back in," Rolovich recalled. "He came up to the office and said 'coach, thanks for giving me another chance.' He's a good kid, he's very attentive. He writes down everything we say. It just takes the guy next to him to see his notes and say well maybe I need to take more notes and things like that."
While the 24-year-old admits shaking off the rust after more than half a decade away can be tough, what he's learned from his time in the Marines has prepared him to deal with any obstacle, on and off the field.
"I think mental toughness is a big thing," said Yanak. "It's something you learn right through boot camp. Leadership, everything like that. It's night and day, I wouldn't change the way I did it."