Football

What’s It Take To Be An Academic All-American? – or – A Man and His Couch

Jordan Fuller Ohio State Buckeyes Safety

Ohio State’s senior safety Jordan Fuller isn’t a hard man to find.

If he isn’t at the WHAC or in class, you can probably find him at home sitting on his couch.

But that doesn’t necessarily make you and him all that similar.

While you are sitting on your couch watching a Simpsons rerun for the 107th time and wondering if you have time for a nap, Fuller is on his couch studying for a test or going over some notes from today’s class or preparing something for a student organization that he belongs to.

Last year’s hard work resulted in Fuller being named a CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American. He earned a place on the second team as a sophomore. As a true freshman, he was an OSU scholar athlete.

What does it take to get there?

“I’d say first you have to care,” Fuller said in Chicago as one of Ohio State’s three player representatives at Big Ten Media Days.

“You have to care a lot. And second, you have to be smart somewhat. So I would say I’m solidly smart. But also I work hard and I time manage and I understand that, ‘All right, I can’t do this because I have to get this done first. That can wait.'”

Fuller’s decision to “care a lot” came a bit from first learning what not do to.

“I guess growing up I remember my parents and my brother having a not-so-pleasant conversation about his grades one time – or, well, there was actually a few times,” he said smiling. “After that, I’m just like, ‘All right, I know what I have to do just to avoid that.’ It started off as just avoiding that, and then it was just like feeling bad when I got a B. And then it was just like, I don’t know, it became what it was.”

Fuller is also involved in more than just books and football at Ohio State. He was involved in the creation of a seminar for OSU’s student-athletes called The Buckeye Way: Sexuality, Identity, and Relationships. The purpose was to help educate student-athletes on sexual assault, sexual violence and healthy relationships, while also addressing any of the misconceptions surrounding the topics.

He is also part of the leadership team for Redefining Athletic Standards, which is a student organization whose purpose is to give black student-athletes on campus a voice.

“It’s amazing,” Fuller said last week in Chicago while looking back at his time as a Buckeye. “The other day, I was just thinking about my whole journey at Ohio State and just my whole journey in life and just seeing how far I’ve come. It’s just crazy. Just the fact that I could represent Ohio State, just that whole brand of Ohio State football, it’s really a blessing in itself. All the things we’ve been able to accomplish as a team, it’s just been crazy.”

This winter, Fuller had surgery for an undisclosed injury, so he also had to find a way to add rehab to an already hectic schedule.

How hectic, exactly?

“I’ll just give you an example,” the business major began. “All winter, since I was rehabbing, I’d work out at 6 a.m. everyday. So I’d get up at 5, work out at 6, do rehab after that then go watch film. I’m at the Woody that whole time. Then I have class at 12. And then class basically until like 7.

“Then after that I’ll have a meeting for one of my student-organizations. And then after that you go home and it’s like, ‘Dang, maybe I should call my friends,’ but I’ve got to go to sleep. That’s what was draining. The day-to-day grind. It was hard.”

But through it all, there was one thing he could always count on — his couch.

After all, under every successful man is a comfortable couch.

And Fuller’s couch has never asked for a single day off.

“It became a joke, like, I would literally always be on my couch when somebody walked in just studying, going over modules, just studying a lot,” Fuller said. “And that would just be a running joke in my house like ‘Oh, there’s Jordan on the couch.’ Because once you open the door, you’re seeing this right in front of you, so it was just like, ‘Yeah.’ That was just what it was.”

Fuller lives with senior defensive end Jonathon Cooper and fourth-year junior Tuf Borland, but they don’t give him any grief for how much time he spends just sitting around the living room.

“No, man. That’s my guy. If he wants to sit and study until his heart’s content, let him go study until his heart’s content,” Cooper said. “I’m not going to bother the guy. I mean, we have our fun. He’ll always come in my room and say, ‘Coop, let me hop on zombies (Call of Duty) with you. Let’s play some video games.’ He’s not just always in a book. He has a life… I think.”

Jordan Fuller certainly has a life. He wouldn’t be so busy if he didn’t. His priorities are just a little bit different than many, which is why his teammates like him as much as they do.

And why his time on the couch is just a bit different than yours.

“So much respect,” Cooper said. “He really sets the standard for student-athletes. He really holds it to the highest level, and he deserves all the praise and recognition he’s getting.”

3 Responses

  1. I love stories like this. We fans often treat these guys like they’re full time pros, but they are students. I really admire and appreciate Jordan Fuller. He’s a leader, example and mentor to a lot of young men. I think Urban Meyer did his best to foster this kind of culture at Ohio State. Props to Jordan and everyone involved in the Buckeye brand.

  2. Just curious, do Academic All Americans get the Buckeye Grove treatment?

    1. Posted by: @thojenningsolv

      Just curious, do Academic All Americans get the Buckeye Grove treatment?

      Nope.

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