Profile: John Kuhn

John Kuhn had never played fullback before suiting up for the Steelers during mini-camp and the team's offseason workouts. But the former Shippensburg University star knew exactly what to expect from his first attempt at playing the position. Why? Because he had a good teacher.

Kuhn spent much of the time leading up to the draft working out with Steelers' starting fullback Dan Kreider at a gym in York, Pa. Like Kreider, a Manheim Central High School graduate, Kuhn, who attended Dover High, grew up in the York area.

"He really helped me out a lot," said Kuhn of Kreider. "He made this team as an undrafted rookie just like me, so he knows what I'm going through. Plus, he showed me that it can be done."

But unlike Kreider, who was strictly a blocking back at New Hampshire, Kuhn was Shippensburg's primary ballcarrier. The 6-0, 255-pound Kuhn holds 27 school records and was a Harlon Hill finalist as the top player in NCAA Division II football last season. He rushed for 4,685 career yards and scored 53 touchdowns.

"It's been a transition," said Kuhn. "But it's one I'm willing to make. I'll do whatever it takes to make it in the NFL. It's always been a dream. Not many guys from small colleges get this kind of opportunity. I want to make the most of it."

That willingness to pick up the nuances of blocking will come in handy when the Steelers put on the pads and start hitting later this month at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

"I know that fullbacks are basically an extra offensive lineman," said Kuhn, who won academic honors as a chemistry major at Shippensburg. "You've got to want to stick your nose in there and hit people. But you also get some opportunities to catch the ball out of the backfield."

Kuhn is one of three young running backs vying for a spot either on the regular roster or practice squad as Kreider's backup. The team selected Northwestern's Noah Herron in the seventh round of the draft, while also bringing in Washington's Zach Tuiasosopo.

Herron, like Kuhn, was primarily a ballcarrier in college, while Tuiasosopo was a pure fullback.

"There's competition, but that doesn't both me," said Kuhn. "That's something that brings out the best in me. I want to show I belong."

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