Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football

Cover photo of the book Mind and Matter
John Urschel
Nov 5, 2020

John Urschel played professional football and is completing his Ph.D. at Harvard University in Mathematics. This memoir reveals John’s challenges of living with divorced parents, trying to become a math major and earning a Ph.D., and making it to the National Football League. Mr. Urschel’s biography is heart-warming and shows the ups and downs of his journey of making it to the NFL and earning a Ph.D. Urschel was interested in math at a very young age and loved solving math problems. It wasn’t until later in middle school that Urschel became interested in football. The story is told in alternating chapters about his football life and his math life. Urschel’s story is remarkable and shows the difficulty of accomplishing rare feats in earning a Ph.D. at an Ivy University and making it to the highest stage of football at the same time. This biography will interest football fans and many teens who have plans of becoming a student-athlete.

The story is told in alternating chapters about his football life and his math life. The story mostly focuses on Urschel’s time as a student-athlete at Penn State University and talks a little bit about his childhood at the beginning and a little bit about his life after college and as an offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens towards the end of the story. As a super-fan of football, I loved this story since it shows the difficulty to become an NFL player. As a high schooler, I also loved this story, since it tells me about the personal experiences of a college student and how much they enjoyed it. I would recommend it to teens and adults since some of the math concepts and language the author uses might not be understandable for younger ages. This is one of my favorite books to read, and I believe many people will enjoy it too.


Written by
Raghu P.

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