It turns out receiver Marc Boerigter isn't just a big star from 'Tiny' Hastings College.
"He's an icon at Hastings," said Rob Andrews, another HC grad, trying to catch on with the Calgary Stampeders this year.
"We all strive to reach his level. It's a testament to his character and work ethic. He worked hard to get where he is."
From the moment Andrews was first recruited by Hastings, he was told about Boerigter -- the small-town Nebraskan kid who grew up to be a successful NFL receiver following two outstanding years in the CFL.
During recruiting meetings, Andrews was shown tape of Boerigter's pro highlights and what a Hastings grad can achieve, even though the school has only 1,200 students, about 10% of whom make up the football team.
Much like Boerigter, Andrews is a natural receiver who was a Mr. Everything in college playing multiple positions, including quarterback and defensive back -- wherever his athleticism was needed.
He's trying out as a defensive back with the Stampeders and is now facing the 'icon' in practice.
Talk about being taken to school.
"At first, I was happy he was on the roster," said Andrews, who remembers seeing Boerigter once at the college.
"It's a familiar face and somebody I can identify with. I never even considered covering him or working against him until I got out here.
"He has a lot of experience and is pretty good at what he does. He's a big, strong, fast guy so when he catches the ball, he's pretty imposing."
Boerigter understands he is a hero back in Hastings, which has a population of about 23,000, mostly because he stayed home to play college ball.
He is listed on the school's web page as one of the few alums to have made it big, right next to former Nebraska coach Tom Osbourne.
If Boerigter's success opened the door for other Hastings grads to get a chance at the pro level, he'll consider that to be a great achievement.
So the Stampeders prized free-agent signing can't help but root for Andrews at training camp, while sometimes blowing past the rookie at the same time.
"The biggest hurdle is getting the opportunity and getting anyone to notice you," Boerigter said. "After playing in the NFL, guys from there will get more of a look because someone has made it.
"The biggest knock is it's a small school and they don't think you can handle increased competition.
"It really doesn't make any difference in the big scheme of things."
Nearly a decade removed from his alma mater, Boerigter is proud to be labelled a Hastings product. He even gets a kick out of hearing it referred to as tiny each time the school gets mentioned.
It's almost to the point where they could change the name to Tiny Hastings College and no one would bat an eye.
"Everything that's been written about it says tiny," Boerigter said with a laugh. "We might as well list it that way in the media guide.
"It's a smaller school that gets overshadowed. But if I came out of Nebraska, it's just not as big a story as compared with Hastings."