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Chris Rubio bringing national attention to the LC Valley

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On Monday, the University of Alabama and University of Georgia will play for the College Football National Championship.

And in college football’s biggest stage, there’s a strong connection to the LC Valley.

That connection?

The Guru of the Long Snap.

The New York Times called Lewiston’s Chris Rubio that.

He’s been training the nation’s top high school long snappers for 13 years, realizing his natural skill through, well, lack of skill.

“I ended up playing [football] my freshman year. {I] hated it, didn’t know what I was doing,” Rubio said. “I was like third-string, center, lineman, just the big chubby kid.”

That is, until his friend would introduce him to long snapping.

A long snap is when a player snaps the ball more than five yards.

And for Rubio, long snapping became a specialty, playing for the UCLA Bruins as a long snapper from 1993-1998.

But when he started, it was new to him and he had to learn quickly, or else.

“they said you have one week to learn how to snap two-handed. I was like ‘I don’t know how to do that.’ Then they said, well you have one week to learn or you’re cut,” Rubio said.

By simply watching his teammate, this game him the tools to learn the science of long snapping.

“And that’s how I picked up all these drills and that’s how I know how to do them because I invented these drills,” Rubio said. “All these drills could be done in a 3x3 space because I used to them all in my dorm.”

After college, he would go on to teach sixth grade world history for eight years.

Then a college teammate gave him the chance to coach his old position at a camp.

And for Rubio, coaching and teaching are two in the same.

“I get too technical,” Rubio said. “I need them to understand what I’m saying very, very easily and teaching sixth grade that helped a lot because you had to help them learn world history.”

Through his camps, he’s had nearly 1,000 students from all over the nation play college football.

Including senior John Raines Jr.

Hailing from Jackson, Mississippi, he’ll be playing for Ole Miss next season.

A dream come true, he didn’t think he’d be long snapping when he started playing football in fourth grade.

“In fourth grade, I might not even have known what a long snapper was!” Raines said.

Making the near 2,300 miles just to see the guru.

Rubio says long snapping is an opportunity for many to play big-time college football.

Both long snappers playing in the national championship on Monday went through his camps.

And one of the University of Michigan long snappers Matt Baldeck is from here in Lewiston.

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