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Brawn and brains

Not all athletes are dumb jocks./Haley Klassen
Not all athletes are dumb jocks./Haley Klassen

The five smartest guys in professional sports

Every semester, there’s a turning point when your “to-do” list begins to grow exponentially. With Thanksgiving behind us, and the snow ready to fall any day, it’s safe to say that the inevitable turning point is upon us. Although it may be hard to believe, many professional athletes are familiar with the phenomenon and have first-hand experience of the stress that accompanies university. What’s more, many professional athletes didn’t simply stumble through university to keep their scholarships, but excelled academically. Although it is rare to have brainpower that mimics athletic power, there are a few freaks of nature out there. Here are the top five professional athletes that have spent more time in a classroom than most of us.

1. Craig Breslow

League: MLB

Team: Pitcher for Boston Red Sox

University: Yale

Breslow’s teammates joke about his intelligence, even hanging Einstein’s portrait and calculus equations above his locker – and for good reason. Breslow has been nicknamed “The Smartest Guy in Baseball” and would most likely be a doctor if he was not a pitcher. Breslow graduated from Yale with BA in molecular biophysics and biochemistry in 2002 and deferred his acceptance into NYU Medical School after being called up to the majors in 2005.

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick

League: NFL

Team: QB Houston Texans

University: Harvard

Fitzpatrick’s standardized test scores are shocking; he is an exam wizard. When he took his SAT exam, a perfect score was 1600. Fitzpatrick scored a seriously impressive 1580. He went on to play at Harvard, proving he was as strong in the classroom as on the field, leading the team a 10-0 record and Ivy League Championship in 2004. The Harvard graduate is also rumoured to have finished the Wonderlic exam in nine minutes with a nearly perfect score.

3. Alex Smith

League: NFL

Team: QB Kansas City Chiefs

University: University of Utah

This first overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft is also one of the smartest on the field. As we all know, undergraduate degrees usually take four years. Not if you are Alex Smith, apparently. Smith finished his Bachelor’s degree in economics in two years. What’s more, he graduated with an impressive 3.74 GPA. Before being drafted to the 49ers, he began work on his master’s degree. 

4. George Parros

League: NHL

Team: Right Wing, Free Agent

University: Princeton

George Parros definitely doesn’t seem like the Ivy League type, but he is. Parros graduated from Princeton with a degree in economics and over 3.1 GPA. He also has worked in finance and trading for the Chicago Board of Trade. This enforcer can crush you with his fists, grow a moustache thicker than Alex Trebek, and school you on a crossword puzzle.

5. Tanner Glass

League: NHL

Team: Left wing, New York Rangers

University: Dartmouth

Saskatchewan produces athletes with brains, too. This small-town kid moved from Lumsden High School to the prestigious Ivy League College, Dartmouth, in New Hampshire. He played his full term for the Big Green, acting as captain in his final year. He graduated with a degree in history, focusing on imperialism.

About Suzanne Barber