The Student Athlete

I remember my first year of college, there were days that I was extremely busy with class work and there were days that I was “bored;” meaning there was not much work to be done. My freshman roommate was an engineering major and also on the crew team, I very rarely ever saw him because he was always on the go. He would get up very early in the morning, go to practice, eat breakfast, spend all day in class, workout or practice again, study, and then go to bed. I always assumed this is what it was like as a major college athlete, but I could be wrong.

Lamont Wade is a four star cornerback that committed and enrolled early to Penn State. He comes from a small rural Pennsylvania steel town, Clairton, which is strictly known for their high school football program. They are one of the most dominant single “A” teams in the state, most recently they produced Tyler Boyd who finished his rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals; Wade could be the next superstar.

Clairton, like many steel towns, is not very prosperous since the steel mills shut down. When you drive down main street you can imagine what the town was like at one time, full of livelihood with stores and restaurants that were busy, and the hustle and bustle of the steel mill. The youth of the town attends classes, graduate, and move on to the rest of their lives. Sometimes there isn’t much they have to look forward to, this is where sports steps in to fill the void. The assumption is that many star athletes, especially football players, are not good students and are handed their grades. This cannot be farther from the truth for Lamont Wade, he excelled in the classroom and on the football field – he is someone who the younger generation at Clairton can look up to.

I happened to stumble upon the below tweet of his, he just moved to Penn State to start classes and working out with his new team. My assumption of the college athlete is not accurate, they do get bored at times. James Franklin, the head coach at Penn State, responded immediately with a very positive suggestion.

James Franklin is someone I would want my son to play football for just based on his response below. He clearly places education above football, he understands that after your football career is over, either in your early 20’s or if you are fortunate enough, you late 30’s, there is a whole lot of life to still live. A college education is a privilege, not everyone is able to afford to go so they should all have someone in their life that is going to motivate them to stay focused.


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