Oakville's Derek Ruymann Follows Coach’s Footsteps to PLU

Linebacker Made the Most of His Lone Prep Season


Though the 2021 season was his first and only season playing football, Oakville’s Derek Ruymann was already having a big impact.

Just four games into the season, Acorns coach Cody Barnett approached Ruymann after the game and told him that he could play college football if he wanted to.

Ruymann was all ears. Just months later, after taking an official visit to Pacific Lutheran University and being offered a spot, the Oakville linebacker is headed to Tacoma and the old stomping grounds of his prep coach.

“It feels great,” Ruymann said of the chance. “I had no expectations of playing at the next level. Last year was the only year of football I had. I met the right people, played the right way. I’m honored.”

Though the Acorns were struggling through a tough season back from hiatus after the COVID-19 pandemic, Ruymann was a stud at linebacker. The senior totaled over 11 tackles a game with four sacks, nine tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries in the fall.

Those numbers, in part, led to Ruymann earning a first-team all-league nod and a spot on The Chronicle’s All-Area team.

All that, after just one year of organized football.

After his cousin suffered a gruesome leg injury playing football years before, Ruymann’s parents didn’t allow him to play the game he grew up watching. After some convincing, his parents relented for his senior season — and Ruymann produced.

“I’ve always loved football,” he said. “I’ve watched football since I was a baby, I love football … I finally convinced them my senior year, and everything worked.”

Ruymann contributed the quick recruiting turnaround to his coach, Barnett, who played football for and graduated from PLU. After Barnett confirmed Ruymann wanted to play at the next level, he began to set things up.

“He was the one who made college football a thought for me,” Ruymann said of Barnett. “I always liked that option. When I went on the visit, I had a blast. It was one of the best days of fun I ever had.”

Though PLU was No. 1 on his list heading in, Ruymann said his visit to the school solidified that ranking, where both the Lute staff and players welcomed him with open arms.

Wins were few and far between for an Acorns program that is still building, but Ruymann said that he will never forget the one season he did have in Oakville.

“We didn’t win too many games but it’s the most fun I ever had,” he said. “When I get on the field, I forget about everything else. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I’ve grown up with all my teammates from kindergarten, you’re like brothers with all these guys. It was great to be playing. That one season that we got was amazing.”

Now, with a signing ceremony on the horizon and college in the near future, Ruymann is hoping to pick up right where he left off at Oakville as he heads north to Tacoma.

“I want to tackle some people,” he said. “I didn’t get enough sample size from playing high school.”