The Real Deal: Collin Albershardt
Sept. 30, 2016
By: Mandy Housenick
GoLeopards.com Featured Columnist
When other teenagers were trying to unearth ways to get out of doing school work in high school, Collin Albershardt was trying to figure out how he could get the most out of his classroom experience.
Throughout his four years at Lafayette, nothing’s changed. While he loves football and puts forth more effort than many when it comes to studying film, asking questions and knowing the playbook, Albershardt still puts studying ahead of everything else.
“I’ve never really cared about missing out,” the senior defensive end said. “I’m not a big partier. I don’t go out a lot now. That’s not my scene. I like to be with my friends, but I know I have to get my work done. At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to impact me. I have never had any regrets. I really didn’t want to look back and say, ‘I didn’t study enough.’”
Nobody can ever accuse him of that. He made the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll as a freshman and junior and last year was named to the FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team and the CoSIDA Academic All-District II Team with a 3.75 GPA.
Albershardt will tell you that those grades came courtesy of Mullen High School, a Roman Catholic High School southwest of Denver, Colo., from which he graduated in 2013.
"I went to a good high school and had a lot of good influences in my life,” he said. “At a young age, it did start with my parents. Then in high school I had a lot of great football coaches and a lot of great teachers. I was in the right environment that taught me the right ways to do things, how to be a good citizen and get things done.”
Here’s the best part: Albershardt voluntarily chose to attend a school that would motivate and steer him in the right direction. His older brothers went to public high school. He opted to go a different route.
“I just saw that environment that my brothers were in, and it wasn’t the best of influences all the time,” he said. “At the end of the day, it was my choice to go there. My parents left it up to me. They didn’t force me at all. Actually, they had to make sacrifices for me to go there. So I thought to myself, ‘Do I want to make sacrifices now and make an investment to help me in the future?
"My high school was very competitive. The 'cool kids' - for lack of a better workd - wouldn't get bad grades. They took AP classes, did well in school, did well in sports. My school pushed me in a very good way."
“And I did. My high school was very competitive. The ‘cool kids’ – for lack of a better word – wouldn’t get bad grades. They took AP classes, did well in school, did well in sports. My school pushed me in a very good way. They were very strict. They expected a lot out of you.”
Lafayette does too, and that’s a big reason why Albershardt landed on College Hill four years ago. He’s slated to graduate this spring with his degree in Economics. But first he has to finish his work with the Tech Clinic, for which he was nominated by professors and then was selected after going through an interview process. Each Tech Clinic group’s goal is to try to solve real-world problems.
Albershardt’s group, which features six Lafayette students and two professors, has been tagged with the duty of creating exhibits geared toward kids ages 12 and under for the new DaVinci Science Center. The project is for school credit (this semester and next semester), so he’ll be graded on it. They meet for about an hour twice a week.
The group will have access to doctors from Lehigh Valley Health Network, DaVinci Science Center scientists and possibly others who have retired from the DaVinci Science Center. Then, once the project is further along in the process, there will be a firm that goes through with the development of the plan.
“It’s so much more fun and so exciting,” Albershardt said. “There’s a lot of problem solving, and I’m getting to work with a lot of smart kids.”
Defensive line coach Ian Dell, himself a former Leopard who majored in neuroscience, knows all too well what it takes to excel in the classroom at Lafayette.
“It’s pretty impressive the type of things he gets involved with outside of football to set himself up for the future,” Dell said. “He sees the bigger picture."
Albershardt definitely carries that intelligence and drive onto the field. He’s one of just a few players who will wrap up their careers this season as a four-year letterwinner, something Dell attributes to the dedication Albershardt always has shown.
“He’s always one of those guys who is doing something on his own after practice and coming in before practice and watching extra film,” Dell said. “To a fault, he is very detailed-oriented in his technique and understanding opponents. He’s a great example of how to approach the game and be a collegiate athlete. Whatever he does, he is going to do it wholeheartedly and try to be at the top level of whatever he’s doing.”
Draeland James met Albershardt during summer workouts as freshmen, and now they share an apartment. Even after four years of friendship, James still finds himself in awe of the type of person and friend Albershardt is. If he needs advice on something, he can turn to Albershardt. If he’s in search of some input about his class schedule, he can ask Albershardt. He’s available day or night for his friend.
"He's one of those friends that comes around once in a lifetime. I can totally depend on him, and that's not easy to find."
“First of all, you’re not going to find many people like him,” James said. “Most people are on the fence here and there. But he is going to be loyal to his word and who he is. We might disagree, but at the end of the day, when you need somebody to be there for you, he will be. He is dependable, trustworthy and reliable. He’s one of those friends that comes around once in a lifetime. I can totally depend on him, and that’s not easy to find.”
Albershardt doesn’t know any other way to be. It’s just his nature, something James, who has vacationed with Albershardt’s family, says his roommate got from his parents.
“His parents raised him well and he really embraced that mentality,” James said.
Finally, Albershardt is getting to enjoy the company of his parents more these days. Early in his career, they didn’t make it from their home in Colorado to many of his games. This year, though, they expect to be on College Hill for every home game and in the stands for two away games.
There’s no doubt he loves getting to have dinner with them and his roommates at River Grille in Easton, which has become a Friday night tradition. But there’s one more perk he’s grown accustomed to as well.
“They buy me groceries,” he said.
When your son is a such an excellent student and wonderful person, it’s hard to not want to buy him groceries.
“It’s definitely good having them here,” he said. “It reminds me a lot of high school.”
And by now, we all know how much high school meant to him.