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Michigan State punter hoping for Rhodes Scholarship

Michael Geiger, Max Bullough, Mike Sadler AP

Only three players in the history of college football have ever received a Rhodes Scholarship, the world’s most prestigious scholarship according to Time magazine that sends one international student to study abroad at the University of Oxford in England. Michigan State punter Mike Sadler (pictured, wearing No. 3 on the left) is hoping to become the fourth scholar football player.

Sadler had one of the plays of the weekend in Michigan State’s road win at Iowa last weekend. A fake punt resulted in Sadler running down the right side of the field for a huge gain and a first down to help the Spartans maintain control of the football. Sadler is among the Big Ten leaders in punting but it is his academic record that could land him one of the most difficult scholarships to receive. According to a report by, Sadler has already graduated from Michigan State in three years with a 3.9 GPA and is underway in pursuing a Ph. D in economics. He also has his eyes set on a shot to receive one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships.

“It’d be tremendous,” Sadler said Wednesday on athletic director Mark Hollis‘ radio show, according to”Honestly, the academics mean more than any athletic achievement that I could ever attain just because academics will stay with you for the rest of your life. At some point, you’re going to have to hang up the cleats, but hopefully you’ll always have your mind with you. A Rhodes Scholarship is just the epitome of achieving excellence in the classroom.”

That is some good perspective from a college football player clearly focused on life after football.

Colorado’s All-American halfback Byron White, who would later become a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1938, was the first high academic scholar to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. USC athletics director Pat Haden, who played his college football for the Trojans, was the second to receive the scholarship in 1975. The most recent player to win the scholarship was Florida State safety Myron Rolle in 2008.

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6 Responses to “Michigan State punter hoping for Rhodes Scholarship”
  1. charger383 says: Oct 9, 2013 8:40 PM

    Hope he makes it

  2. friarjack61 says: Oct 9, 2013 9:57 PM

    It’s really nice to know of a college athlete who is in school for an education, and, in turn knows how the value of such will lead to success in his entire lifetime. Best of luck to you Mike.

    As a fan, I’m proud of your academic achievement.

  3. philliesblow says: Oct 9, 2013 10:34 PM

    Sadler is also a great follow on Twitter @Sadler_3

    Mike Sadler ‏@Sadler_3 4 Oct
    Dinner tonight: corn on the cob, creamed corn, corn flakes, corned beef, and candy corn. #BeatIowa #CornyJokes

    He was also picked as one of Seventeen magazine’s hottest players in college football.

  4. cfballfan1 says: Oct 9, 2013 11:00 PM

    Sadler is from my hometown and has been a high level student – athlete in the truest sense of the term.

    I hope he makes this rarest of goals. He deserves it!

  5. bsrosas says: Oct 10, 2013 1:20 AM

    What about Pete Dawkins? Heisman Trophy winner?

  6. uclapt says: Oct 10, 2013 1:37 AM

    If I’m not mistaken, Chris Joseph, who played football for UCLA, is also a Rhodes Scholar:

    Chris Joseph, 2009 (NCAA Athlete, Football)

    Christopher Daniel Joseph attributes his passion for nature and the study of geography “to my upbringing in a small rural community on California’s Central Coast known as the Santa Ynez Valley.” At Oxford he hopes to focus on biodiversity, conservation, and management of the earth’s boreal forests. Chris played varsity football at UCLA for four years (for the last three years he was a starter at two different positions on the offensive line).

    Chris served in various leadership positions, including team captain and a class representative to a team leadership council. He earned honors as a three-time member of the NCAA Academic All District Team and the Academic All America Team for his last two years. Since graduating summa cum laude from UCLA in 2008 in geography, Christopher has coached a junior college football team to a conference championship, served as a personal athletic trainer to local high school athletes, and participated in a research and reclamation project on the native flora of Oahu, Hawaii.

    Adapted from Rhodes Scholar biographical sketch. See also UCLA Today story and UCLA Spotlight video.

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