When evaluating Chelf, persistence is the quality that most stuck out to Marilyn Middlebrook, OSU's associate athletic director of academic affairs. When Chelf was not named the Cowboys' starting quarterback last spring, she worried his academics would suffer.
Instead, the opposite happened.
“They improved,” Middlebrook said. “He just decided that he was going to be the best, whether he was the starting quarterback or not. It made no difference to him. He wanted it, but he was not going to quit, and he was the same way in the classroom.”
Chelf said one of the main reasons he decided to stay at OSU after last spring's disappointment was because he wanted to earn his degree from the school. Now his graduate program offers more flexibility, allowing him to take night classes and focus more on his senior season of football.
He's not sure where those degrees will ultimately take him. Right now, he's concentrating on holding onto the No. 1 quarterback duties, a distinction he's earned this spring after his strong performance down the stretch last season, and continuing to thrive in the classroom.
“It's exactly what I need right now,” Chelf said. “… I'm just going to go with the flow for now, keep trying to get ‘As' in all my classes and then do well on the football field.”