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John Urschel
refer to caption
Urschel in 2015
No. 64
Position: Guard
Personal information
Born: (1991-06-24) June 24, 1991 (age 26)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 300 lb (136 kg)
Career information
High school: Buffalo (NY) Canisius
College: Penn State
NFL Draft: 2014 / Round: 5 / Pick: 175
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2016
Games played: 40
Games started: 13
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

John Cameron Urschel (born June 24, 1991) is a Canadian mathematician and retired professional American football guard and center.[1][2] He played college football at Penn State and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Urschel played his entire NFL career with Baltimore before announcing his retirement on July 27, 2017, at 26 years old.

Urschel has bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Penn State and is pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT.[3][4] He has published peer-reviewed articles in mathematics.[5][6][7] He is an advanced stats columnist for The Players' Tribune.

Early life and education[edit]

Urschel was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. His parents, John Urschel and Venita Parker, were a surgeon and an attorney respectively. He earned a bachelor's and master's in mathematics at Pennsylvania State University. While at Penn State, he was awarded the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the "academic Heisman".

Professional football career[edit]

2014 NFL draft[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 3 in
(1.91 m)
313 lb
(142 kg)
33 in
(0.84 m)
10 38 in
(0.26 m)
5.31 s 34.5 s 5.7 s 7.55 s 29 in
(0.74 m)
8 ft 6 in
(2.59 m)
30 reps 43
All values from NFL Combine[8]

Urschel was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft with the 175th overall pick. He played in 11 games, starting three, for the Ravens in 2014. He appeared in 16 games, starting seven, for the team in 2015.[9]


On July 27, 2017, Urschel announced his retirement from the NFL after three seasons.[10][11] The Baltimore Sun reported that the JAMA study on the prevalence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in deceased players was a factor in Urschel's decision.[12]

Mathematics career[edit]

In 2015, Urschel co-authored a paper in the Journal of Computational Mathematics[13] titled "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians". It includes "a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue."[14]

Urschel began a Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT in 2016,[15] focusing on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra, and machine learning.[16] On January 4, 2017, Urschel was named to Forbes' "30 under 30" list of outstanding young scientists. His Forbes biography states "Urschel has published six peer-reviewed mathematics papers to date and has three more ready for review. That's a respectable publication history for someone who only started pursuing their PhD at MIT this year. He's won academic awards for his math prowess. All this while playing guard for the Baltimore Ravens."[17][18]

As of 2017, Urschel has an Erdős number of 4.[19]

Chess hobby[edit]

Urschel competed in the 2015 Pittsburgh Open finishing 12th place (tied for 9th) with 3.0 points (+2-1=2) in the Under 1700 rating section.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baltimore Ravens: John Urschel". Retrieved September 14, 2017. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Ravens Lineman John Urschel Loves Math More Than You Love Anything". Deadspin. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ "John Urschel". Twitter. May 23, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ Alexandra Wolfe. "John Urschel: From the NFL to MIT". The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2016. Accessed October 30, 2016.
  6. ^ Michael S. Rosenwald. "NFL's John Urschel has a brain made for math. And he's willing to risk it on the field.". The Washington Post, October 9, 2016. Accessed October 30, 2016.
  7. ^ "Ravens guard John Urschel to take on U.S. champion in chess - FOX Sports". May 18, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2017. 
  8. ^ "John Urschel". Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ "John Urschel". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  10. ^ Mink, Ryan (July 27, 2017). "Genius Mathematician John Urschel Is Retiring From the NFL". 
  11. ^ Orr, Conor (July 27, 2017). "John Urschel tells Ravens he's retiring from NFL". 
  12. ^ Walker, Childs; Dance, Scott; Zrebiec, Jeff (July 27, 2016). "Concerned with long-term damage from head injuries, Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel retires". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 31, 2017. 
  13. ^ Mullen, Jethro (March 22, 2015). "Unusual equation: Baltimore Ravens' guard John Urschel is a math whiz". Retrieved March 22, 2015. 
  14. ^ Urschel, John C.; Hu, Xiaozhe; Xu, Jinchao; Zikatanov, Ludmil T. (2015). "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians" (PDF). Journal of Computational Mathematics. 33 (2): 209–226. doi:10.4208/jcm.1412-m2014-0041. 
  15. ^ Miller, Stephen D. (2016). "'I plan to be a great mathematician': An NFL Offensive Lineman Shows He's One of Us" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 63 (2): 148–151. doi:10.1090/noti1331. 
  16. ^ Clements, Ron (May 25, 2016). "Ravens guard John Urschel's straight-A streak continues at MIT". Sporting News. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Ravens' John Urschel makes prestigious Forbes '30 Under 30' list". Retrieved September 14, 2017. 
  18. ^ "John Urschel". Retrieved September 14, 2017. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "2015 Pittsburgh Open". United States Chess Federation. November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 

External links[edit]


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