SPRINGFIELD TWP. – Luke Kuechly opts to finish what he starts. It’s far from a new concept, but it’s been invaluable in his 24 years.
This offseason, Kuechly, a 2009 St. Xavier High School graduate currently an NFL All-Pro linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, put the final stamp on his college education and earned an undergraduate degree in business marketing.
Kuechly’s collegiate education went unfinished when the two-time All-American from Boston College declared for the NFL Draft after becoming eligible after his junior season in 2012.
Hindsight declared it a solid decision; he was selected ninth overall in the draft, led the NFL in tackles his rookie season, won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award and in his sophomore season, in 2013, Kuechly became the youngest ever to be named Defensive Player of the Year.
“I didn’t make up my mind; my mom did,” said Kuechly, who needed to complete eight courses in order to graduate. “She said: ‘If you’re leaving (Boston College) you’re going back to school (and finishing).’ That was kind of how it went, there wasn’t a whole lot of discussion. My mom, dad and I agreed that school’s very important.”
Kuechly said following his rookie season, he returned to Boston College in the offseason for one semester.
“They (Boston College) said (I could) come back for one semester, take five classes and (then) I could take the remaining classes online,” said Kuechly.
After his second year, he took two online courses. One was an economics class through Regis University, the other a history course by way of Louisiana State University. His final class, in the most recent offseason, was a strategy and policy course online with a Boston College professor.
“I would Skype the teacher at Boston College and it was like a classroom session. He would ask questions and we would have discussions,” Kuechly explained. “Each week I had to turn in a paper. That went on for 4-5 weeks. It took me about three years to finish those eight classes.”
Kuechly said it was “comforting” to finish his education.
“I left some stuff unfinished and it was kind of hanging over my head these (last) three years,” he said. “I knew in the offseason I was always looking at a class or two. Now, this (coming) offseason I don’t have to worry about it. I’m finished and I worked hard to get it.”