Ian Lehn has walked on and made the Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Ga.) football team.
This is a very rare and impressive feat for a non-recruited athlete to walk on and make a Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football team.
“I’m on the team as a third string linebacker,” said Lehn, a 2004 graduate of Batavia High School.
As a Bulldog, the son of Rick and Kelly Lehn was a Southern Buckeye Conference all-star in football and wrestling and was a state mat qualifier. He also competed as a member of the Clermont Rowing team that practices and competes on Harsha Lake at East Fork State Park.
“What got me thinking about doing this was a talk I had with (Batavia head football) coach (Jamie) Corrill my senior year,” said Lehn. “He told me I should try to walk on in college to play football and I decided to try it down here.”
Now a junior at Georgia Tech, last year Lehn tried out for and made the Yellow Jackets’ cheerleader squad.
“I became a cheerleader for a year in order to get a chance to work out with the football team and to get training,” said the mechanical engineering major.
At 5-feet, 11-inches he increased his already impressive and powerful physique from a high school weight of about 160 pounds to his present 230 pounds.
Lehn’s accomplishment is one that is very rare. Many athletes plan to sit out a year and then go on to play college sports, but this rarely works out.
The only other recent example of this plan succeeding was in 1983 when Mike Thompson, a 1982 graduate of Glen Este High School, sat out one year to weight train and develop more quickness. Thompson sat out a year and went from a 165-pound Eastern Hills League football and track all-star who was bench pressing about 200 pounds to walking on at nationally-ranked Wilmington College and starting at linebacker as a freshman for a national playoff qualifying team. He had increased his body weight to 210 pounds and a bench press of more than 300 pounds.
“Right now I’m on the development squad so I can learn the plays and get bigger, stronger, and faster,” said Lehn. “I’m ecstatic.”