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Packers Rookie OT Bruffy Personified ‘Student-Athlete’

Whether it's football, the oil industry or something else, the door is open for Travis Bruffy.
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Editor’s Note: Texas Tech offensive tackle Travis Bruffy checks in at No. 66 in our ranking of the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – At Texas Tech, offensive tackle Travis Bruffy was a three-time all-Big 12 selection. But that’s not all. Far from it.

- He was nominated for the Senior CLASS Award.

- He was a semifinalist for the William Campbell Trophy – aka the Academic Heisman.

- He was elected a captain by his teammates for his final two seasons.

- He was named president of Texas Tech’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

- He was one of 15 student-athletes across all sports, including just four from football, to attend the autonomy portion of the NCAA Convention, where he voted on student-athlete legislation.

- He had a 3.35 GPA in Texas Tech’s College of Business.

- He served internships at Credit Suisse and a Texas oil company.

How did he do it? Part of it was his internal drive. Part of it was sage advice from a former NFL lineman.

“First off, I don’t think anything that I did was that special,” Bruffy, an undrafted rookie for the Green Bay Packers, said this week. “I just kept a good, firm focus on what I wanted to get out of those four years and was very fortunate to have achieved it and being in the position I am today, not only on the football field but the opportunities I have and will have off the field. There was an assistant coach, Manny Ramirez, he told me, ‘You can live like nobody else for these four years or live like no one else for the rest of your life.’ I truly believed that. I tried to get involve as much as I could and try to be a champion at everything that I did. I think anyone can do what I did if they just keep the mind-set.”

Bruffy personifies the term “student-athlete.” He took full advantage of his scholarship as a three-year starter, which opened the door to the NFL, and he took full advantage of his education, which opened other doors. In 2018, he interned at Double Eagle Energy, where he learned about the oil industry; in 2019, he interned at Credit Suisse, where he spent time on the trading floor.

“Growing up in Texas and especially going to school in West Texas, it’s the oil and gas capital of the world besides some Middle Eastern countries,” he said. “The Permian Basin, which is the Midland/Odessa area – ‘Friday Night Lights’ area for the out-of-staters who don’t know what I’m talking about – it’s the oil hub of the United States. It’s known around the world for producing high-quality Texas gold. Got to work with a company down there called Double Eagle Energy. The co-CEOs (Cody Campbell and John Sellers) are ex-Texas Tech football players. It’s absolutely amazing what they do. They have a very unique approach to what they do. When they spoke to our team, I realized they were people that I wanted to be around.

“Then, I got a chance to shadow the foreign exchange strategy department at Credit Suisse in New York City. That was a phenomenal experience. You can understand as a 21-year-old kid how amazing it is to be on a trading room floor, especially when that was my dream since I was a little kid. It was absolutely amazing.”

Texas Tech coach Matt Wells once said Bruffy could run for governor of Texas. With all he did at Texas Tech, Bruffy should have numerous doors open to him whenever his football career ends. What does he have in mind?

“I can tell you what I have in mind but, to be honest, I don’t know what life’s going to throw at me,” Bruffy said. “I don’t know where I’m going to end up, I don’t know how long I’m going to be fortunate to play this game, I don’t know who I’m going to meet along the way. Any plan I give you now is just to give you an answer. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. In my opinion, the best thing I can do is keep focused on what does matter and that’s being a good role model in my community, it’s being a good future father, it’s being a good future husband. I want to set myself up to be in those positions. When my name is Googled, I want my future kids proud.”

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Bruffy was a second-team all-conference selection as a senior, when, according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed only two sacks. He was not invited to the Scouting Combine and went undrafted. A hot commodity, the Packers gave him a $7,000 signing bonus and guaranteed $20,000 of his salary.

While he obviously would have rather been drafted, Bruffy said he wasn’t disappointed with the outcome.

“I’m a Green Bay Packer so, obviously, it wasn’t disappointing at all,” he said. “I watched every pick being made but, at the end, I have a home. I’m trying to make that home last as long as possible because there’s not a better organization out there. To think I was disappointed that I didn’t get picked, I think that’s crazy. I’m so fortunate, I’m so privileged to be in this position.”

There’s a clear path to a roster spot for Bruffy. The Packers drafted three linemen but they’re primarily interior blockers. Green Bay’s tackles are starters David Bakhtiari and Rick Wagner. Undrafted players Alex Light, Yosh Nijman and John Leglue are back. Starting guard Billy Turner could be the swingman.

Beyond opportunity and money, Bruffy was attracted by the Packers’ history and reputation.

“It’s a legendary organization,” he said. “I think any kid grows up, there’s a couple teams out there and those teams aren’t just hometown teams. You watch them on Monday night, they have meaning behind them, they have history behind them. There’s something about the aura behind them. You see the snow games, the legends that have played there, all the championships that they’ve won. Why would you not want to be a part of that organization? Plus, there’s the culture. You always hear everybody who leaves Green Bay being so proud of their time there, so happy about the people that they met. That’s something that I wanted to be a part of.”

With no classes to attend and no practices, Bruffy is in the unusual position of having a relatively empty schedule. His goal now is to learn the playbook “better than anyone’s ever learned it” and getting himself in prime position, mentally and physically, to compete for a job in training camp. And when his football day is over, he turns his focus to his family’s passion: golf. Bruffy said his mom, grandfather and a cousin played professionally, and an uncle participated in long-drive championships.

“I’m not decent but I’m not a hack,” he said. “I can break 90 but they’re all shooting single-digit handicaps. I have a long ways to go until I can play with them. I’ve got some good distance off the tee but, man, I can’t putt to save my life.”

90 TO 1 ROSTER COUNTDOWN

Part 1 (87 to 90): FB Elijah Wellman, FB Jordan Jones, G Zack Johnson, S Henry Black

Part 2 (83 to 86): CBs DaShaun Amos, Will Sunderland, Stanford Samuels, Marc-Antoine Dequoy

Part 3 (80 to 82): DT Willington Previlon, RB Damarea Crockett, S Frankie Griffin

Part 4 (77 to 79): G Simon Stepaniak, G Cole Madison, T Cody Conway

Part 5 (76): QB Jalen Morton can throw a football 100 yards

Part 6 (73 to 75) TE James Looney, TE Evan Baylis, RB Patrick Taylor

Part 7 (70 to 72) OLBs Jamal Davis, Randy Ramsey, Greg Roberts

Part 8 (67 to 69) LBs Krys Barnes, Delontae Scott, Tipa Galeai