The brain, the brawn, the man, the math, the legend: John Urschel. A former All BIG-10 Conference offensive lineman at Penn State and former offensive guard/center for the Baltimore Ravens, John Urschel is arguably the most unique and well-rounded player in NFL history. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Campbell Award, also known as the “Academic Heisman,” given to the college football player possessing the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance.
Urschel also won the Sullivan Award for the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, based on the qualities of leadership, character, and sportsmanship. He graduated from Penn State in four years with both an undergraduate and master’s degree while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. He also published multiple papers in prestigious mathematics and scientific journals, taught two undergraduate math classes, and anchored the offensive line, starting every game of his junior and senior years.
In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens recognized the man of many talents by drafting him in the 5th round, and he started several games during his rookie year. After his rookie season he decided to continue his education by enrolling in MIT full-time to pursue a Ph.D in Mathematics. On July 27, 2017, he announced his retirement from the NFL after three seasons when The Baltimore Sun article about the Journal of the American Medical Association study on the prevalence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in deceased players. Urschel is currently a Dean of Science Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics with a focus on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra, and machine learning.
He is the author of "Mind and Matter: A Life in Football," where he reveals the lesser-known passion for mathematics that inspired his double life as an athlete and scholar, sharing insights into how his bifurcated insights impacted pivotal events, including the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Since his playing days, John has also proven what a valuable asset he can be off the field, working with major corporate brands such as Texas Instruments, Bose, Gillette, and General Electric, as well as government agencies, and educational institutions both in the U.S. and abroad.
He has been featured in Rolling Stone multiple times and on CNN, NPR, BBC, CBS, HBO, and ESPN’S SportsNation. He was even nominated for Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year." To top it all off, he was one of the initial contributing editors on Derek Jeter's online media platform Players Tribune and also currently hosts digital series with both Marvel and IBM.
This free event is open to the public and sponsored by the TLU Jessie S. and Jack Harold Upton Brown Cultural Enrichment Endowment Fund.