YSU’s Hrynkiewicz signs with Rams

While no names were called from Youngstown State University during the 2019 NFL Draft, Penguins offensive lineman Vitas Hrynkiewicz got a phone call from the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams after the draft, signing him to an undrafted free agent deal.

“It was just a relief,” Hrynkiewicz said. “I talked with the Rams and some other teams pre-draft so I knew there was some interest. My agent told me some teams were going to start having some opportunities especially at center going into next year, so I knew they were interested. It was nice to have it happen.”

The Somerset, New Jersey, native joined the Penguins’ roster after transferring from Independence Community College in Kansas where he played for one season.

“I wouldn’t be here without YSU and the people here,” Hrynkiewicz said. “Coming out of high school I didn’t have any Division I offers so I went to junior college. YSU gave me that opportunity and I’m proud to represent them.”

After joining the Penguins, Hrynkiewicz started in 38 games with YSU. In his first season with the team, Hrynkiewicz was an anchor on the national runner-up squad, starting in all 16 games and playing every snap in 14 of those games. He blocked for two 1,000-yard rushers and was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s All-Newcomer Team.

His second year with YSU, Hrynkiewicz was named to the All-MVFC second team and was second team Academic All-MVFC. He started all 11 games at center and earned his second letter. This past season he was an honorable mention for the All-MVFC Academic Team. Hrynkiewicz graduated from YSU in December with a bachelor’s degree.

Despite his success with the Penguins, Hrynkiewicz wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, but attended a pro day put on by the New York Giants back home in New Jersey.

In the pro day, Hrynkiewicz put up 25 reps on the bench press, ran the 40-yard dash in 5.38 seconds, and posted a 32-inch vertical jump in front of NFL coaches and scouts from across the league.

Had he been invited to the NFL Combine, his 40-yard dash time would have been third among draft eligible centers.

Being snubbed from the combine and the draft doesn’t affect Hrynkiewicz, however. He carries himself with the same energy regardless of where he was taken.

“I always have a chip on my shoulder,” Hrynkiewicz said. “I don’t expect anything to be given to me. Being drafted would have been nice, but I’m glad to have this opportunity. I’m going to go out, work as hard as I can and go from there.”

His best friend and a fellow offensive lineman for the Penguins, Gavin Wiggins, received rookie camp offers from the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills.

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