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Texas Tech QB Nic Shimonek ready for his chance as Eastern Washington visits

August 31, 2017 GMT

Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek can find an open receiver 40 yards downfield. He also can restore your furniture.

“He’s a renaissance man … he’s the hardest worker on our team,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury says of Shimonek, a fifth-year senior who’s worked hard for this, chance to shine on the football field as well as the business world.

His first chance is Saturday against Eastern Washington.

For three years, since transferring from Iowa, he backed up Pat Mahomes, a top-10 pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

While he waited, Shimonek worked to make ends meet as a walk-on.

“I felt like I was putting a burden on my parents, going from being on scholarship to not being on scholarship,” Shimonek told the Dallas Morning News. “I wanted to do something to help my parents out.”

The vehicle was his mother’s small home décor business. In the last three years, Shimonek and high school sweetheart Kayla Wilkie have a decent living restoring furniture in Lubbock, Texas.

Shimonek would scour Craigslist and go to furniture auctions looking for dressers to restore. Between classes at Tech, he would sand the furniture.

Kayla would get up before 5 a.m. and begin painting before starting her day on campus. Nic would come back to distress and wax.

“I was just looking for a little bit of extra money so my parents wouldn’t have to put money on my card for things like groceries,” Shimonek said.

Now on scholarship, Shimonek has put the business on the back burner as he tries to help Kingsbury restore the Red Raiders’ fortunes on the football field.

Even with Mahomes in the lineup, Tech went 5-7 last year, mostly because of a poor defense. Most likely, Shimonek will have to put up some big numbers to if Tech is to improve.

“Obviously, Pat was one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in the history of the school,” Shimonek said of Mahomes, who led the nation in passing last season. “But I’m not looking to fill anybody’s shoes. I’m just going to do what I do: Go out there and try to put my team in the best position to win that I can.”

Shimonek will do that with a big arm and a quick release, targeting one of the best receiving corps in the Big 12 Conference.

“We’re very comfortable with Nic at quarterback,” Kingsbury said.