The NFL Player Pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics at MIT

John Urschel is an offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. A Canadian-born American, Urschel was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft after completing his college playing career at Pennsylvania State University. Urschel holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Penn State. He completed his bachelor’s degree in three years and his master’s degree while playing for his fourth year at Penn State. During his fourth year, he taught integral vector calculus trigonometry as a graduate assistant.

Urschel played in all 16 games for the Ravens in 2015 and was a starting guard in seven games. Urschel spent the off-season completing his first semester in the mathematics Ph.D. program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He took four courses and had a 4.0 grade point average. He has co-authored a paper which was published in the Journal of Computational Mathematics.

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  1. I am wondering why this guy is not a household name. In 2013 1.68% of Americans hold PhD’s and I’m sure that the numbers among African Americans in the U.S. is even smaller. This guy is elite in the sense of physical achievements and intellectual achievements, he should be celebrated by he NFL as a model player for children to look up to. Well done John.

  2. It is great to see this information posted here, but like Kevin Ivory states he should be a household name. I saw a feature on 60 Minutes about him a few months ago and he is
    a beast with math.
    He plays chess and very articulate and creative. He is a great role model for our youth, teens and young adults. He would inspire a lot of young men to love math and go into careers that require that skill set.

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