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Penn State’s Urschel serves as keynote speaker at Big Ten luncheon
The Buffalo News ^ | 7-25-13 | Bobby Narang

Posted on 07/26/2013 4:44:47 AM PDT by FlJoePa

CHICAGO — Penn State senior linebacker Glenn Carson expected nothing short of a informative and motivational speech.

His teammate, John Urschel, was giving the keynote address on behalf of the players at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon later that day.

Urschel, a 2009 Canisius High graduate, doesn’t shy away from breaking the mold of the typical offensive lineman.

In his fifth season, the first-team All-Big Ten guard and first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American graduated in three years with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, received his master’s in math in his fourth year and currently is working on his second master’s in math education — all while maintaining a 4.0 average.

In the spring semester, Urschel taught a section of Math 041 — an undergraduate Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry course at Penn State three days a week. Urschel had a paper published earlier this year in the journal, Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy.

“He’s really motivated,” Carson said of Urschel. “He loves Math. He’s kind of inspiring. If somebody can get that into Mathematics and school, then there’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t be able to pass a class and stay eligible. He’s not your typical football player. Sometimes he’s so smart for his own good that he has trouble understanding really simple concepts.”

Urschel, a former All-WNY player and Trench Trophy winner, quickly brought the nearly 2,000 fans, coaches and players to laughter in the opening minute of his speech Thursday.

“I took a course in public speaking in my sophomore year, but fortunately for me it was online,” Urschel said.

Urschel, much like his background, took a different stance than the two previous keynote speakers. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson gave an emotional speech detailing his rough upbringing in 2011. Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins elected to focus on several issues in college football last year, including the need to be a role model.

But Urschel centered his six-minute speech on four topics.

“There should be four goals: to master your craft as a football player; to make your mark in your community; to help the young players that follow in your footsteps; and to prepare for the day that your football career ends,” Urschel said.

The 22-year-old Urschel, who started all 12 games at right guard last year, closed his speech with a plea for football players to break traditional stereotypes.

“At some point in every man’s career, you begin to think about how you will be remembered,” Urschel said. “I truly believe in leaving this world a little better than when you found it, whether its through community service or outreach programs or charity programs. Don’t limit yourself to the stereotypes the media has created for you. Don’t listen to what the outside world tells you what football players are supposed to do. Aspire for something greater.”

As the anchor on Penn State’s offensive line, Urschel talked about his own legacy at Penn State during the one-on-one roundtable media sessions before the luncheon. Urschel was recently named to the Outland and Rotary Lombardi watch lists.

The Nittany Lions finished with an 8-4 mark last year, exceeding expectations after a troubling period that included the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the death of icon Joe Paterno.

“We’ve all moved on and we’re excited about the upcoming season and making our mark at Penn State,” he said. “We’re hoping to build on last year’s success.”

TOPICS: Education; Miscellaneous; Sports
KEYWORDS: buffalo; ncaa; psu
A great example of why recruiting rankings don't always mean a whole lot. 2-star player out of HS, now he's 1st team All B1G and teaching math courses at PSU (He'll teach a calculus class this fall). Even Nick Saban would like to have a few Urschels around.

You can watch his speech here on youtube, and read his bio here on the University server.

1 posted on 07/26/2013 4:44:47 AM PDT by FlJoePa
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To: FlJoePa

Perhaps it’s just the way I’m reading this article but it seems the writer exposes himself as a football know-nothing when making the statement about the “typical football lineman” and trying to mean “dumb jock.” As a whole, the OL players are at the top of the food chain for smarts in the football world. Obviously, Urschel is on the far right side of the intelligence distribution chart, making him an outlier but Urschel’s speech is still inspiring and on point. Anybody can make much more of themselves if they set aside any internal thinking or societal messages that trap them into a behavior or lifestyle that doesn’t lead to personal growth.

2 posted on 07/26/2013 4:57:40 AM PDT by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: FlJoePa
The apparent dig at the expected IQ levels of the BIG men who play along an offensive line is misplaced. In general the only position on the field where you might find players with higher average intelligence is quarterback. At least that's been my observation over the years.
3 posted on 07/26/2013 7:07:39 AM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: katana

I think left tackles are probably smarter than other lineman (on both sides of the ball), and QB’s are probably smarter than other skill position players. But it’s usually “Football IQ” that matters most anyway - at least to the NFL.

Urschel is just on a different level. Obtaining two masters degrees in 5 years w/ a 4.0 in Mathematics isn’t something you see very often.

I’m very proud he’s a Penn Stater and he seems very proud of his University as well. He’s what you want, and I wish there were a thousand more of him out there.

4 posted on 07/26/2013 7:19:35 AM PDT by FlJoePa ("Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good")
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