If you have some time today, check out my story on Indiana defensive end Kevin Bush, a 25-year-old sophomore walk-on who fulfilled his dream to play for the Hoosiers after two and a half years in the U.S. Army.
Bush's path to Indiana took him to Toledo, where he spent a semester and played a little football, and then to the Army, where he served a year in Korea and 14 months in Iraq. He then earned admission to IU through the G.I. Bill and walked onto the team last season.
There's a lot there, but I was most amazed by Bush's dedication to his physical development in Iraq. He added 30-40 pounds of muscle in the desert and had no trouble passing the eye test when he met Indiana's coaches.
"He came back jacked up, looking good," Bush's high school coach Drew Wood said. "He's a good football player, don't get me wrong, but how many people get out of the military and walk on at a level higher than they were? And then to watch him play, he's supposed to be out there."
I also was struck by Bush's strong sense not to let people down or disappoint others. It drew him to the Army after he left Toledo and couldn't pull off a quick transfer to Indiana. It also prevented him from saying much during the process of signing up for the Army.
"He'd never tell you anything, and the reason was he never wanted to let you down," Kevin's father, John, told me.
It'll be interesting to see how much Bush plays for Indiana this year. The coaches love his athleticism at the defensive end-hybrid position, and he blocked a punt in the season opener against Towson.
But after what Bush has been through to get to Bloomington, the hard part definitely is in the rear-view mirror.