"Renaissance Man" Calvin Throckmorton Excels in Football, Human Physiology

Photo courtesy of Rob Moseley, GoDucks.com

One day last fall, Calvin Throckmorton started the morning with weightlifting and football meetings, followed by practice. Now he is sitting in a basement laboratory of Klamath Hall on the University of Oregon campus, crammed into a small desk and studying a collection of data at a computer terminal.

Throckmorton, a junior offensive lineman on the football team, is a man of many talents on the field. He started all 34 games over the last three years, at four different positions.

But Throckmorton is a Renaissance man off the field, as well. He’s majoring in human physiology, on his way to applying for medical school this summer. He speaks Spanish, has a 3.84 grade point average, and works as a peer advisor. He’s even a beginner on the guitar, in the classical style—“plucked, not strummed,” as he puts it.

And now, in that campus lab, Throckmorton stands at a white dry-erase board, red marker in hand, calculating angles for a group project. He is considering backpackers bearing heavy loads on uphill climbs, and how that affects their posture—potentially leading to back injuries. He’s figuring out how much an increase in a backpack’s weight will change the angle at which a classmate bends at the waist.

“Just a little trig,” Throckmorton says.

No big deal. Just a little trigonometry, from a two-time honorable mention All-Pac-12 offensive lineman who could one day be playing in the NFL. His backup plan is just as extraordinary: heading off to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Accordingly, sometimes football has had to take a back seat to academics. Throckmorton has missed pregame walk-throughs because of anatomy exams that required him to identify body parts on a cadaver.

This fall, in fact, Throckmorton plans to take more premed requirements.

“I don’t know how he does football and these classes and is, like, a person,” says Katelyn Beilby, a classmate in human physiology. “In our level of classes, I don’t know how you do both (academics and athletics)—and to do them so well.”

“He’s a guy that doesn’t complain at all,” says Justin Herbert, the UO teammate who can perhaps relate best to Throckmorton, since they’ve taken some of the same science courses and both are two-time academic all-district picks.

“He’s taking the toughest class load of anyone on the team. What he’s able to do on and off the field, watch as much film as he does and be a leader, I’ve got so much respect for him.”

“He’s way beyond our mental capacity,” Throckmorton’s fellow three-year starter Shane Lemieux jokes. “I couldn’t even imagine how much work he does behind the scenes. I try to take a little bit from him every day, because he’s just a rare individual. I’ve never seen anyone like him.”

But what Throckmorton is able to accomplish, in the classroom and on the football field, is as much about what he doesn’t do with his time as what he does do. He doesn’t watch much TV. When teammates are discussing recent adventures playing Fortnite, Throckmorton can’t relate; he’s not really into video games, either.

“We have O-line dinners every Thursday night, where we all get together,” Throckmorton offered. “That’s pretty much ‘cutting loose’ for me.”

At those dinners with the offensive line, Throckmorton’s teammates casually refer to him as “Doc Throck,” a nod of respect to his academic proficiency and future career path.

“They understand where my priorities are, and they understand what’s important to me,” Throckmorton says. “For guys to call you ‘Doc Throck’? That’s pretty cool.”

—By Rob Moseley

Rob Moseley is the editor in chief of GoDucks.com