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John Urschel to Write Advanced Stats Column for The Players’ Tribune

After graduating from Penn State with both a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in math education with a 4.0 GPA, you could say John Urschel knows a thing or two about numbers. Now, the former Nittany Lion football player has a chance to show a national audience just how far his Penn State education has taken him.

Urschel, now a starting offensive lineman in the NFL after being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of last year’s draft, will write an advanced stats column for The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform founded by Derek Jeter that publishes first-person stories directly from athletes. Other prominent athletes that have penned articles for the site include Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Russell Wilson, and Jason Collins, the first openly gay professional athlete in North American sports.

Urschel’s first column, published on Friday, Dec. 5, is fittingly titled “Math Meets Football,” and introduces the first-year pro as “the smartest guy in the NFL.” The column promises to discuss “any and everything football” with a “mathematical spin.” The chosen topic for his introductory piece was about academics in college football, and reaches some interesting conclusions about the work-life balance of student athletes at two notable universities. But I won’t spoil any more for you. It’s an excellent article. Go read it for yourself. 

This announcement should come as no surprise to the Penn State community, who have long recognized Urschel as one of the nation’s top student athletes. Urschel was awarded the Campbell Trophy (commonly known as the “Academic Heisman”) and Sullivan Award (given to the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete) prior to his graduation in May 2013.

While playing as the starting left guard for the Nittany Lions, Urschel was a three-time academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time academic All-American. He also earned the Senior CLASS Award in 2013, given to the NCAA senior student-athlete who excels both on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

Along with teaching college-level courses Integral Vector Calculus and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry, Urschel has had several research papers published, including “Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem” in the journal Celestial Mechanics and Dynamic Astronomy and “A Space-Time Multigrid Method for the Numerical Valuation of Barrier Options” in the journal Communications in Mathematical Finance.

From fifth-round pick, to starting NFL lineman, to national columnist, Urschel has had quite the rookie season thus far. Here’s hoping the big man continues to represent Penn State well as his professional career continues.

Photo from: The Players’ Tribune

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About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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