NORMAN — Gabe Ikard added a couple more academic honors to an already impressive list Tuesday at Oklahoma's annual Max Weitzenhoffer Scholar Athlete Breakfast.
The veteran offensive lineman received a Dan Gibbens Outstanding Scholar Athletes of the Year award for the third straight year, and the Big 12 Conference's Gerald Lage Award for athletic and academic success Tuesday morning.
Ikard, who graduates next month but has one remaining season of football eligibility, expects the next several months — and all the important decisions he'll have to make — to be exciting, but also difficult and possibly confusing.
He must decide soon on a Fall 2013 course of study. He said he's considering either a master's program or a second undergraduate major. Eventually, he plans to attend medical school.
“It kind of depends on what program I start in the fall, and then my plans to go to medical school,” Ikard said of his future plans. “It gets a little confusing with balancing that and preparing for the (NFL) Draft. It's a little complicated, but I'm just hoping it'll work out for the best.”
After his senior year at Bishop McGuinness, Ikard received the Bob Colon Scholarship, presented annually by The Oklahoman and the Jim Thorpe Association to the Oklahoma City-area's top male high school scholar-athlete.
OU President David Boren hosted Ikard and his parents during their recruiting visit to Norman in 2008. Boren reserves such meetings for a rare few athletic recruits, and after Tuesday's breakfast, he fondly remembered his visit with the Ikards.
“For Gabe, it was as much about the academic opportunities as it was athletics,” Boren said. “I told him this morning, it felt like just yesterday we were sitting in the living room in Boyd House talking about him coming here.”
Ikard has started 37 career games on the Oklahoma offensive line, playing both guard and center. He broke his hand in the Sooners' second practice last month, limiting his participation in spring workouts.
Tuesday, Ikard wasn't wearing a cast on the injured hand and said he'll start lifting weights again in about a week.
“It was unfortunate I had to miss most of spring,” Ikard said. “I just had to heal up. Glad that I don't have to wear that cast any more.”
Ikard said medical school has been a longtime dream because it would allow him to continue working in sports.
“I always wanted to be able to work with athletes later in life,” Ikard said. “Help save athletes' careers, help extend athletes' careers. That's always something I've wanted to do. It's gonna be a lot of hard work, and I don't really know how it's gonna work out with professional football and how that'll all pan out, but we'll wait and see.”
For his part, Boren said he's amazed by Ikard's athletic and academic success, and by his future plans.
“To me, he really represents the ideal,” Boren said. “Great athlete, great student, great person. If I could pick someone to represent what OU's all about, Gabe Ikard would sure be in the running.”