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Player born without femurs commits to Baylor

Ricardo Benitez will play at Baylor in 2018. (Screenshot via ESPN)
Ricardo Benitez will play at Baylor in 2018. (Screenshot via ESPN)

Baylor got a significant commitment Friday night.

Ricardo Benitez announced that he was committing to play football for the Bears in 2018. You probably haven’t heard of Benitez; he’s not a player you’ll see listed as a five-star recruit. But his drive may be the strongest in the country.

Benitez was born without femurs in both of his legs, a condition called Femur Hypoplasia Bilateral. It hasn’t stopped him from playing football, however, and he’s currently a member of the football team at Plano West High School in Texas.

Soon, he’ll be a member of Baylor’s team.

“I could tell my whole life story but I do not want to be looked at as a sob story,” Benitez wrote in his Twitter post. “I could tell the story of how a pee wee football coach would not let me play on his football team. I could tell the story of how I had to go through seven pediatricians to finally find one who would sign me off to play football. I could tell the story about the amount of times I have been told “No” or “You can’t” due to my “disability.” I would hear the words, but I would not listen.”

He said he developed a relationship with assistant coach Fran Brown that led to his commitment to the school.

Benitez has been to football camps throughout the state, including at Baylor where he took a picture with head coach Matt Rhule last summer.

He’s also visited the Dallas Cowboys, who hosted him earlier in his high school football career. He spoke to the Cowboys in 2016 and you can view an ESPN feature on him here.

“He’s the type of kid every coach wants on their team,” Plano West coach Scott Smith told MaxPreps in 2017. “There’s never an excuse out of his mouth and he fires you up. Every kid on the team wants to hang out with him outside of football because of his upbeat personality. He’s as strong as any kid in our program for his size. If there’s something he can’t do in the weight room, he’ll do something that correlates. He doesn’t take any reps or plays off. He’s the soul of the team. Benitez is an average player who does above-average things because of who he is.”

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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