Bear Spotlight: Jeff Marek and Jeff Gurley

Bear Spotlight: Jeff Marek and Jeff Gurley

By Ellie Lieberman
Athletic Communications Intern

The Washington University in St. Louis football team hosts Elmhurst College Saturday at Francis Olympic Field, as the Bears host Youth Day. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (CT). 

Senior linebackers Jeff Gurley and Jeff Marek reflected on the past four years at WashU with Athletic Communications Intern Ellie Lieberman. 

Why did you choose to come to WashU? I chose to come to WashU first and foremost for the people. My goal in selecting a college was to surround myself with the best people in the country. At WashU, men I am proud to call my teammates are future leaders in every industry. But more importantly, they push themselves and everyone around them to be the best at what they do in every aspect of life: football, academics, faith, family, you name it. Of course, a degree from WashU goes a long way, and playing high level collegiate football is a dream come true, but it's the outstanding individuals that make WashU so great.  

What's your favorite game you've played in at WashU? My favorite game I've played at WashU was last year against Wheaton. Beating a top program at home after being ranked to finish in the bottom half of the conference at the beginning of our first season in the CCIW was special. Defensively, we were firing on all cylinders and shut down one of the best offenses in the country. And to make it that much sweeter, my college decision came down to WashU and Wheaton, so to win that game really affirmed my choice that WashU is where I am meant to be. 

What teammate has inspired you here at WashU and why? This is definitely the hardest question! It's so difficult to pick just one of my teammates, as all of them have inspired me in some way, held me accountable, and pushed me to be my best. Carter Rholl is one of those guys who works harder than anyone, and we're seeing the result of all that hard work on the field these first few games. He never complains, is always encouraging, and sets the tone of every workout and practice with his effort and intensity. Last season, Carter unfortunately tore his ACL early in the season after a great start to the year. Seeing how he worked his butt off every day in the weight room and in the training room to come back from that injury really inspired me to work harder and follow his lead by putting my nose to the grindstone.

Why did you choose to major in Political Science? I chose to major in Political Science because I knew law school was a major possibility for me, and I wanted to learn writing and analytical skills to prepare me for the LSAT and a career as a lawyer. WashU has one of the best Political Science departments in the country, so to be around great faculty and students has been an amazing opportunity to learn and grow intellectually.  

Who do you model your game after? Growing up playing defensive end, I always modeled my game after Dwight Freeney (I still love to use his signature spin move). As my role has expanded into doing more things on the football field, I find myself watching more off-ball linebackers like Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner for tips. 

What are your post-graduation plans?
I plan to attend law school following graduation. 

Why did you choose WashU?
Obviously WashU has phenomenal academics and opportunities. However, the major factor that made WashU stand out was the people. From the coaches, to the other players, to any staff, the people at WashU are unique in how much they care and how genuine they are. 

What is your favorite game that you've played in? My favorite game I have played in at WashU must be the game against a highly ranked Wheaton team at home last year. Everyone on both sides of the ball played incredibly. It was just a genuinely fun game being able to execute a game plan and secure the victory against such a high level of competition. 

What is your favorite thing about playing linebacker? My favorite part about playing linebacker is the unique blend of all aspects of the game. Some plays you're in man coverage working with the defensive backs and other plays you're on the line of scrimmage working with the defensive line.

What is your main goal as team captain this year? The main goal is to keep the energy and momentum going this year. There is a special mindset and passion this year, and the most important part is keeping that going throughout the year.

What is the best piece of advice Coach K has given you? The piece of advice Coach K has given me is probably to keep a list of priorities and lean on that when it comes time to make decisions. 

What are your post-graduation plans?
I am currently planning on continuing work in the lab that I am in during my gap year while applying to medical school.