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Gopher tackle Jonah Pirsig is a gigantic booster of education, football


At 6-foot-9 and 320 pounds, Jonah Pirsig is used to standing out.

Whether he was on the football field or off of it, people have always noticed the Gophers enormous right tackle.

Playing high school football in the small southern Minnesota town of Blue Earth, Pirsig got noticed. It didn't take long for word to spread that some of the biggest names in the college football coaching world were in town to watch him play.

But the allure of Auburn or Ohio State didn't draw Pirsig away from home. He didn't go to either of Minnesota's top rivals Wisconsin or Iowa – even though both schools heavily recruited him.

Instead, he surprised many by becoming one of Jerry Kill's first major commitments and choosing to stay home at Minnesota.

Now imagine taking that mountain of a man from the gridiron, where he already stands out, and placing him in a classroom full of elementary students.

The Star Tribune notes that as Pirsig works towards his degree in elementary education he's been spending two mornings a week in Naddie Baker's kindergarten class at Edina Highlands Elementary School.

Even at 6-foot-9, Baker tells the newspaper that Pirsig is a strong fit in the classroom.

"You would think he'd be intimidating for them," Baker said. "But the kids instantly liked him. He just has a very welcoming presence."

Pirsig's family has strong ties to education. Both of his grandmothers were teachers and his mother taught, as well. Even Pirsig's sister studied education.

He is two semesters away from completing his undergrad degree. But the Star Tribune notes that he could put off some of that if he has the opportunity to pursue his other dream: playing in the NFL.

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