SAN DIEGO (December 26, 2012) -- Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey will have quite the cheering section at Thursday's Holiday Bowl.
Lackey grew up 20 minutes outside of San Diego in Murrieta and said he'll have close to 20 friends and family at the Bears' bowl game. But, his biggest fan may be on the field playing against him.
UCLA linebacker Ryan Hofmeister was a high school teammate of Lackey's at Vista Murrieta. After graduation, Hofmeister made his way to Riverside Community College, while Lackey headed to the Midwest and played for Division II Northwood College in Michigan.
After one year at Northwood, Lackey returned home to play for Riverside at the same time Hofmeister packed his bags for UCLA.
"We both believed we could make it to where we are right now," said Hofmeister.
"He was just an influence on me," Lackey said. "It's a really cool thing to have my best friend playing all the way up to even now, we're going to be playing against each other."
Hofmeister said Lackey was one of his biggest supporters when Hofmeister lost his dad to a heart attack in high school.
"He was one of my only friends that knew my dad before he passed away," Hofmeister said. "He ultimately helped me get through that and helped me still play football."
Saturday, they'll share the field for the first time since high school, playing just minutes away from where their friendship first began.