John Urschel loves two things: football and math. He’s also very, very good at both of them! Urschel plays as the offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens, and he has already won awards for his talent on the field. Now he is trying to win a different kind of award by sharing his love of math with kids.
Urschel has loved both football and math for has long as he can remember. When he was young, he would earn his allowance by figuring out how much sales tax was on the things his mother bought. When he went to college at Penn State, he scored 4.0 (all A’s) in his math classes, and he hopes to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics someday.
Urschel’s skills at math came easy, but he says that football was a little harder for him. He didn’t actually start playing until high school, and he fell in love with the game the first time out on the field. He worked hard, though, and his dedication paid off. In 2014, he was drafted by the Ravens to play for the NFL!
Now, Urschel is taking time offseason to work as a math ambassador! Urschel has been talking with kids in his home state of Maryland about math, and why it is so important. “What I see in math, and what I wish a lot of young people would see, is how it’s rooted in reality,” he says. “Mathematics is underlying so many things in our everyday life, and mathematicians are in such great need.”
Earlier this year, Urschel was invited to talk at the National Security Agency (NSA) about his passions for math and football. During his speech, he talked about how some people wonder about him being so good at two such very different skills. “It’s not hard doing both math and football, in that I love both,” he said. “It’s important for people growing up to realize that you don’t have to be just one thing. Diversity is good.”