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Russ College students have a field day as Bobcat football players

By Kaitor Kposowa and Colleen Carow

A trio of students at Ohio University's Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology know an extra thing or two about keeping their eyes on the ball - they juggle studies with their roles as OHIO football players.

Eric Herman, Jordan Thompson, and Matthew Weller are all engineering technology and management majorsMatt Weller

“Being a student athlete requires many long days and time management,” said kicker Matt Weller. “It's nice to be able to experience both dynamics.”

Weller said he chose to study engineering technology and management because he has always been curious about how things were made and how they worked.

“My favorite thing about engineering is seeing the products and processes that are learned in the classroom being used in society,” he explained.

This year, Weller was named to the 2012 All-MAC team, his third time receiving all-conference honors. He also became OHIO football's all-time leader in career field goals.

“I think it's safe to say that everyone wants to leave their mark on the program after playing for four years, and I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to be able to do that,” he said.

In his time at OHIO, Weller also has been given the Lou Groza Award, College Football Performance Awards Specialist Trophy, and was NFF Campbell Trophy Semifinalist.

Weller and Jordan Thompson, team captain, are both members of Epsilon Pi Tau engineering honors fraternity and have also been enrolled this fall in an independent study on compression molding for their final class.

Thompson said he chose ETM because he likes the hands-on approach the department takes.

“Having a lab for virtually every class really helps students apply what they learn in the classroom into real life applications in the lab,” he said. “I also like the small number of faculty members the program has. Having each professor multiple times really allows students to personally get to know them.”

Thompson said managing football and engineering at the same time is difficult, but giving his fellow students another way to take pride in the university is a lot of fun.

“As a student athlete, there is no better feeling than knowing that we have the ability to represent our university, introduce our school to people around the country, and be able bring current and former Bobcats around the world together to cheer on their team.”

In May 2012, Thompson received the Outstanding Senior Leader award at the 29th Annual Leadership Awards Gala. In 2011, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Committee honored him at their Humanitarian Awards Dinner for his off-the-field community work, which includes Rufus Reads, wherein student athletes read to local elementary school children in the classroom.

Thompson said he's always enjoyed community service.

“The Athens community has always been so welcoming to me and has given me many great opportunities and memories. I always try to give back in any capacity possible,” he said.

After graduation, Thompson plans to travel overseas for some time and then start his career in the manufacturing field. Weller intends to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.

ETM Department Chair Pete Klein said Weller and Thompson have good attitudes about learning and about life in general.

“They've balanced athletics and academics very well and never use their demanding football time requirements as an excuse for equally demanding academic expectations. They take classes very seriously yet seem to have a lot of fun as well,” he said. “They are the kind of individuals that other students want on their project teams.”

The OHIO Bobcats will play at the 2012 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl on December 28.

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