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Tyler Wortman: Heart of a Husker, Mind of a Mechanical Engineer
by Carole Wilbeck
It's impressive that Tyler Wortman carries a 3.955 cumulative grade point average in mechanical engineering at UNL, but it's amazing that he does this while serving as a starting linebacker for the Husker football team.
In the Omaha World-Herald this summer, Mitch Sherman wrote that Wortman never received a grade worse than A-minus "until he got a B-plus in Engineering Measurements, a required course with a monstrous reputation among students in his major of mechanical engineering." Still, Wortman is well-positioned for his plans to graduate in May 2009 and attend graduate school, perhaps to study aerospace engineering or biomedical engineering.
The Daily Nebraskan quoted Wortman in a preseason media session: "You just have to work hard, be patient and good things will happen." True to those words, a few weeks later Wortman was honored with the Brook Berringer Scholarship during pre-game ceremonies before the San Jose State game. The scholarship for a football student-athlete demonstrating community service along with "high ideals, excellent character and integrity" was endowed in the memory of former Nebraska quarterback Brook Berringer, who died in a plane crash on April 18, 1996. This past spring, Wortman was named to the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team for his outreach work: volunteering at Elliott Elementary School and participating in the Huskers' regular team hospital visits.
The 6'3", 253-pound senior has also been an eight-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll pick. He has long held an endurance approach to academics and athletics.
"I knew going into it that school and football were my priorities and that fun would have to come second," Wortman explained.
As defensive end and tight end in high school at Central Catholic in Grand Island, Wortman set a school record in career tackles for loss and earned allstate, all-conference and all-district honors. In wrestling, he medaled twice at the state meet and was a conference and district champion. He gained two gold medals at the state track meet, including participation in the 4x800 relay, and helped his team capture the Class C team title. He ranked first in his graduating class with a 4.0 grade point average and achieved academic all-state honors in all three sports.
At Nebraska, he worked his way up from a redshirt (walk-on) freshman to scout team player to backup linebacker during his junior year.
"Balancing mechanical engineering and being a student athlete at the same time is a tough job ... very time consuming, so managing my time was very crucial in my success," Wortman said. "It has been hard at times but in the end it is all paying off. I am very thankful to all of the advisers and professors who have helped me out along the way."