Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.
Name: Sam Follansbee
College: University of Pennsylvania
Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 220-pound senior linebacker
High School: North Hunterdon HS, Annandale, NJ
About Follansbee: A two-sport athlete, Follansbee appeared in nine games as a freshman for the Quakers and finished with 13 tackles. … He missed his sophomore year with an injury and played offense last season. … As a junior he registered four catches for more than 100 yards and appeared in 10 games. … He is the President of the UPenn Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. … This season he is back on the defensive side of the ball and has registered eight tackles and a forced fumble in six games.
What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?
Follansbee: My most memorable experience as a college football player (thus far) would have to be our last home game this past season when we defeated Harvard in Franklin Field, under the friday night lights and on national TV, to guarantee a share of the Ivy League Championship.
What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?
Follansbee: Initially, the incredible life story and research of Dr. David Fajgenbaum — who suffers from, and is currently battling to cure Castleman’s disease — propelled me to get involved with our Penn chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Since my initial involvement and and later assumption of the primary leadership role, I’ve learned the power of sport and empathy. I’ve also learned that there is no substitute for genuinely passionate work and tenacious application. For example, in our most recent campaign this winter, my team managed to raise nearly $5,000 during the last forty-eight hours before the deadline—a testament to the power of will and persistence.
As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?
Follansbee: My favorite part of the gameday experience at Franklin Field would have to be at the end of each game when the entire team gathers in front of our band and student section and we all celebrate and sing “The Red and Blue”.
Who is your favorite NFL player and why?
Follansbee: My favorite current NFL football player would have to be Luke Kuechly, not only because he is an incredible talent, but due to his leadership abilities on and off the field.
If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?
Follansbee: I would have to choose my grandmother who passed away almost two years ago now. I’d enjoy filling her in on everything that has happened since she passed. Plus her love, wisdom and wit is something I miss.
What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?
Follansbee: That is a difficult question, but I would say the Yale Bowl is my favorite road stadium to play in. Much like Franklin Field, It’s historic and unique, and emerging from their tunnel onto a grass field in the middle of a natural bowled stadium is quite the experience.
In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football or big goals for the future?
Follansbee: I am still trying to discern what career path in public service I should apply my talents to post graduation. If that is building my career within the apolitical ranks of a government agency, such as the FBI, or perhaps attending law school and gaining the skills to defend those who lack the ability to defend themselves and/or pursuing a public life in politics, is yet to be decided upon. Regardless of my specific path, I aim to use my work ethic, tenacity and natural abilities, to quote Nelson Mandela, “live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
What is your perfect pizza?
Follansbee: Buffalo Chicken
Last 3 songs you added to your playlist?
Follansbee: Red Ragtop – Tim McGraw; Happy New Year – Parker McCollum; Bad Company – Five Finger Death Punch
Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus?
If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be?
Follansbee: Barack Obama
What was the last movie you went to the theater and saw?
In the Mountains or on a Beach?