College football has a new hero, and he’s a 4’2″ wide receiver. Ricardo Benitez was born without femurs, but the North Texas 18-year-old is now set to walk on to the Baylor football team.
After playing for Plano West, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule took notice and offered Benitez a non-scholarship spot on his team. By the way, Nick Saban was also after Benitez.
It was a dream come true wrapped nicely in a bow until Benitez learned how expensive it was to attend the private Christian university.
“I was calling the financial aid advisers this past week and it was just way too much for one year,” Benitez said in a YouTube video. “It was way too much for the next four years. It was upwards of $250,000, and that was just for my bachelor’s degree. People pay that kind of money to be called doctor.”
That’s when Camryn Moortgat stepped up. As one of Benitez’s good friends, Moortgat started a GoFundMe page to raise $20,000 just so Benitez could attend a semester at Baylor and suit up for the football team.
“Ricardo’s story has already been able to inspire, but imagine the power of his presence on a Division 1 football field. Imagine how inspired a kid with a disability will be by seeing Ricardo on that field,” Moortgat wrote. “…Ricardo would tell you that he looks at his disability as his superpower. He often says that what you may see as a disability, he sees as an opportunity to impact someone’s life. That is the kind of person he is and the kind of message he was put on this earth to share.”
At the time of this writing, more than $20,500 has been raised, which allows Benitez to hit the books and the gridiron at Baylor, at least for short time.
ESPN featured Benitez in a piece in 2017, where he explained not only how he helped motivate the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, but how he navigates world and how his perception shapes his success.
“The only difference between me and someone else is how I get from point A to point B,” Benitez said. “I pretty much run on my tiptoes. I won’t be able to run like everyone else can, but I can still run. And I won’t be able to walk like everyone else can, but I can still walk.”
If you have a desire to contribute to Benitez’s dream so he can spend his entire collegiate career at Baylor, visit his GoFundMe page.