Michigan State center Chris Morris was in a similar situation, having gotten his bachelors after his junior year with the Spartans (he redshirted as a true freshman). But instead of working on his dance steps for his senior season, he decided to work on his Masters degree, in finance.
"I've always been interested in numbers, and that was my favorite subject," Morris said. "But I figured no matter what I accomplish in my life, whatever money I make, I'll know what to do with it. It leads to a lot of opportunities."
The repeat all-Academic Big 10 choice is hoping that one of those opportunities is playing in the NFL. Being labeled blue-collar and overachiever is a bit of a backhanded compliment for a pro prospect, but the 6-3, 295-pounder hopes versatility will be his ticket to the next level.
"My brother was a long-snapper, so I picked that up," he said. "Freshman year, I snapped for all of the special teams. And sophomore year, we had a couple of guys injured at the guard position, so I played a little bit there too. In the NFL, you need to know different positions, so I'm getting on my guard technique. I feel like I could definitely fit in at guard if I needed to."
Morris, a three-year starter in the always tough Big 10, hopes his smarts will pay off at the next level even though his favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber, he's clearly neither.
During the dizzying post-season evaluation process, Morris tried to connect with the coaches and scouts looking to get a feel for him.
"They want to get to know you they want a guy they can trust, that's a decent human being," Morris said. "And they want to know if you know anything about football, if you're a smart guy. I feel like I did real well in that."
And he's also smart enough to know that slow and steady sometimes wins the race.
"Everybody says, its not how you make it into the league, its what you do what you get there," he said. "As long as you can get an opportunity, its what you make of it. I've been looking forward to this for my whole life. You've been working out for so long that you just want to play football again."
Patriots Insider, Jon Scott contributed to this report.