WNY Native is a Penn State Star

STATE COLLEGE, PA - "It's unreal, there's nothing like it," that is is how John Urschel describes the game day experience at Penn State.

The 22-year-old football player is more than a student-athlete. He teaches calculus at Penn State and has a commanding presence in the classroom.

Urschel is a graduate of Canisius High School, a school he speaks highly of, "Canisius High School is no joke, a serious prep school and I'm very grateful that I had the opportunity to go there," he said.

He carries a 4.0 grade point average, but there is so much more to this 300-plus pound lineman. He has already earned an Undergraduate Degree in math and a Masters in math and now he is pursuing a second Masters in math education, while teaching a class.

He has already earned prestigious awards.

The humble young man made it clear that his ability to perform well in athletics and academics shouldn't be a question.

"Because I'm a student athlete, all of a sudden my ability to teach is being questioned, you know, do you have enough time, things of this sort. When, I'm as talented a mathematician as anyone else. Irrespective of sports," he said.

What is very clear about Urschel is that he loves his family and his Penn State family. "I love this university. It game me a shot when I was an unheralded offensive lineman from WNY that no one really heard of or wanted. I was the seventh offensive lineman taken that year by Penn State."

John Urschel hopes to play in the NFL. He is expected to be drafted and is more than prepared. "It's a tough league to make it in but, I'm going to give it everything I've got."

When his time ends on the Penn State football field, his face will likely grace a popular mural near the campus.Artist Michael Pilato created the masterpiece as a thank you to those who inspired him at Penn State. 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing asked Pilato, what he thought the late Jo Paterno would say about John Urschel on this wall that also has his likeness, Pilato said "awe man, he would be so proud. Holy cow, I get goose bumps just thinking about that question. He really is exactly what Joe would recruit, what he would look for. He's also a leader to help the rest of the team to achieve that exact same goal which is success with honor."

Eventually all of his murals from around the world will fit together on the internet called the world mural.

Urschel was unaware of the future honor, and when told about it, he smile and said, "I'm honored for everything I get. I'm blessed to be here, to be in the opportunity to try to represent Penn State the best I can, I love my university."

Back in Buffalo, where many high school athletes wish to walk in John Urschel's shoes, he has a message. "Stay focused on your goals. I know there's always a lot of noise going on, a lot of things going on around you, but really focus on what you truly want out of life. If you really aspire to be, say a Division 1 football player, focus on it and realize maybe all your friends around you, aren't like you."

For now life is fun and it includes math, yes math and football. "I read math books for fun, I do research for fun. I'm playing football for fun, I get to practice, I get to hit people, like what's more fun," said Urschel.


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