John Urschel

Offensive Lineman, Baltimore Ravens, NFL
Doctoral Candidate, Applied Mathematics, MIT
Adjunct Research Associate, Mathematics, Penn State

The importance of both math and sports

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John Urschel is known for the exceptional status he holds in two very disparate and demanding professions: mathematics and pro football. Equally brainy and brawny, half MIT and half NFL, he is committed to promoting the importance of both math and sports as critical to the development of life skills.

Challenging an opponent on the football field and facing a stubborn problem on a whiteboard are both tasks that require mental agility and near-obsessive focus. The ultimate "mathlete" and a living example of all that's good about school athletics, Urschel is powered by his twin passions, his competitive spirit, and his drive for excellence. He embodies the values of dedication, hard work, discipline, and teamwork.

Whether discussing vital math and learning skills, the physical joy and mental satisfaction of playing a football game — or how he manages it all — Urschel revels in his role as an ambassador for the two elite and seemingly incongruous professions he cherishes equally.

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Urschel holds a master's degree in mathematics from Pennsylvania State University. In addition to playing football for the school, he lectured in math, published a number of peer-reviewed articles and, among other honors, received the Kermit Anderson Award in Mathematics.

Urschel's numerous athletic awards include CoSIDA Academic All-American, All-Big Ten, Associated Press All-American, the Campbell Trophy, and the Sullivan Award. In 2014 he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, where he is an offensive lineman.

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.


Game Break

BIG 10 Luncheon Speech