It was an impressive one-handed catch.
Ryan Yurachek looked over his left shoulder, spotted the ball and followed its flight into his right hand.
He then had nothing but smooth sailing ahead as the crowd roared its approval.
No, the catch was not one of his 14 career touchdown receptions.
Rather, it was a Twitter-worthy highlight of the Marshall tight end cruising by on a jet ski and on the receiving end of a pass thrown by a high school buddy:
“We had seen some trick shot videos, or whatever you want to call them, and we just started playing around,” said Yurachek of the theatrics on an intracoastal in his hometown of Myrtle Beach, S.C. “We ended up getting it on the fourth or fifth take. There were a few boats driving by and they stopped to watch what we were doing, so we ended having a bit of a crowd. It was actually pretty funny and it turned out to be a pretty cool video.”
It wasn’t cool the way Hurricane Matthew worked its way up the Southeast coast with Myrtle Beach among the affected areas. Yet, there is no doubt it could have been much worse.
“Obviously they got hit pretty hard and it is never good to see piers and bridges taken out completely,” said Yurachek. “Everybody is fine and everybody I talked to is doing well.”
That is good news and so is the career the junior has carved out for himself in Huntington, W.Va. Do not be fooled, however, by the breakfast he prepared in his Marshall-produced “Day in the Life” vid. Yurachek’s effort in the kitchen does not go much beyond what you see, at least according to him.
“I don’t know if I consider myself to be a decent cook,” he said. “I was just whipping up some eggs in the morning. I am not the cooking type and (the video) just happened to be shot that day. That is about as far as I dabble with cooking.”
While Yurachek may not be a star with the griddle he has been making his mark on the gridiron. After catching 44 passes for 417 yards and nine touchdowns last year, the 6-foot-3, 232-pounder was included on the John Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end) watch list heading into this season. Through five games he has 13 receptions for 166 yards, including three TDs, giving him 74 career receptions.
As good as things have been on the football field they are even better in the classroom and the university community. Such effort has not gone unrecognized as Yurachek, who also played basketball and baseball in high school, was named to the Wuerffel Trophy (community service, academics) watch list and the AFCA Good Works Team (dedication to others). Such accolades followed a year in which the marketing major earned a spot on Conference USA’s commissioner’s honor roll.
“My parents did a good job instilling in me it wasn’t just about what I was doing on the football field, baseball field and basketball court,” said Yurachek, whose father, Hunter, played basketball at Guilford (N.C.) College and is currently the athletic director at Houston. “Your academics are going to benefit you for a lifetime. I have always tried to work at it and I have taken it very seriously. It is nice to be honored for it, but it is kind of second nature to me.”
So is his work in the community, which has included, but is certainly not limited to, visiting hospitalized kids and helping at homeless shelters, food banks and youth camps. Yurachek fondly remembers attending camps when he was young.
“I try to get my face out there as much as possible and try to do as many things as I can,” he said. “When I was younger and attending camps people did many nice things for me and I want to do those things for other people. I want them to have those memories. It is good to put a smile on other people’s face and it is a good experience for sure.”
Yurachek desires to continue to help others. He intends to get a master’s in sport management and someday be a football coach or serve in athletic administration, whether it is at collegiate or professional level.
For now, though, there is much work to be done at Marshall. The Thundering Herd (1-4; 0-1 CUSA) head into Saturday night’s homecoming game on ASN against FAU (1-5; 0-2) seeking their first win against an FBS opponent.
“We don’t have a good taste in our mouth, but we are coming back home and hopefully we can get the ship sailed back in the right direction,” said Yurachek, whose Herd suffered road losses the past two weeks at North Texas and Pitt. “FAU is a good team that presents some challenges, but I think we are ready to go and we can’t wait to get back in front of our fan base.”