Ohio State's Fuller one for the books

Edward Sutelan
Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller breaks up a pass intended for TCU's Taye Barber during a game on Sept. 15. Fuller, the Buckeyes' second-leading tackler this season, also excels in the classroom. He was named a first-team Academic All-American last week. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

There is nothing Jordan Fuller doesn’t study. Week after week, the Ohio State safety studies the team’s game plan against the upcoming opponent. And, of course, he studies for his marketing major.

Fuller, named a first-team Academic All-American last week — he was on the second team last year — balances his work in all areas of his life. And where the “student” part in student-athlete often gets lost, Fuller embraces it.

Given the rigor of his coursework in his third year at Ohio State, Fuller wasn’t sure he’d attain Academic All-American status again. When he did, he felt it showed his hard work had paid off.

“There were a lot of hours that went into that,” Fuller said. “There was a lot of studying.”

Fuller said even with taking business calculus and statistics, classes he described as among his toughest, the difficulties of finding academic success came more from trying to find the time and energy to study rather than the material of the classes. Returning from practices and games, “you’re so tired and sometimes you don’t feel like doing the work.”

It took time and effort to develop a strategy for striking the balance. Sharing a starting safety role early in 2017 before taking over as the starter in the middle of the season, Fuller said he developed a plan through trial and error that season to maintain high grades — a 3.30 grade-point average is needed to become an Academic All-American.

“This year, I had a set plan and knew exactly what to do,” said Fuller, who is second on the team in tackles with 72 this season.

For younger players, the temptation to fill downtime playing video games can be great, Fuller said. The stresses of the football life can take a toll and hitting the couch is an easy escape.

“That’s probably not the way to go if you want to be a great student,” Fuller said. “You won’t have much free time, but it will be worth it in the end. It was a lot of late nights and a lot of times I wanted to go out with the boys to the movies or get a quick game in on (NBA 2K), but I had to say no because I had to study.”

School is out until after the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 against Washington, so there’s nothing Fuller must prepare for in the classroom. No textbooks from which to take notes. No lectures to attend.

Fuller can devote all of his studies to learning about the Huskies.

After the bowl game, the football studies won’t stop for Fuller. He has a decision to make about whether he will leave for the NFL or return for another year at Ohio State.

And as he does with everything, he is studying as much as possible, entering his name to the NFL’s College Advisory Committee, “just for research.

“Just to make an informed decision."


Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Football podcast: