Miami University prides itself on a liberal arts education, pushing students to grow their minds in multiple academic fields while developing skills and experiences in and outside of the classroom.
Miami redshirt junior wide receiver Jack Sorenson is the poster child of this mission.
Not only does Sorenson excel on the field, but he also has created a well-rounded college experience in Oxford by being a part of a business fraternity and Christian community. For the Chicago native, this mindset of being more than a football player has been deeply ingrained in him for as long as he can remember.
“My dad always harped it into me: football ends,” Sorenson said. “Whether you make it to the Hall of Fame or not, football ends.”
That, of course, is not to say Sorenson does not eat, sleep and breathe football. He does, and has since his childhood visits to Lambeau Field to cheer on his favorite team, the Green Bay Packers.
Small in stature at just 6’0’’ and 192 lbs., the shifty fourth-year receiver is the first Miami player to arrive at the football facility and the last one to leave, said his position coach, Israel Woolfork.
“The one thing about Jack that makes him great is he’s a competitor,” Woolfork said. “Any ball thrown in his area, he thinks he should catch it.”
Even when he’s confined to the sideline due to injury, Sorenson still devours whatever dosage of football he can get his hands on. Woolfork said that, for the two-game stretch Sorenson has missed this season due to leg injuries, he was “the best leader we have on the sidelines.”
“He’s been more engaged than any other person, even though he’s not playing,” Woolfork said.
After leading Adlai Stevenson High School to a state championship, Sorenson had options to play football for numerous teams across the country, but chose Miami due to the program’s commitment to help players “be the best well-rounded man you could be.”
He has taken full advantage of this commitment by joining the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. Not only does the organization provide Sorenson with fruitful connections for career aspirations down the road, but also feeds his hunger to compete both on and off the field.
“I get really restless easy, so if football were to end, I wouldn’t be able to just sit on my butt and travel,” Sorenson said. “I think ‘AKPsi’ provides that opportunity to do something that is competitive, such as sales or marketing or consulting.”
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Balancing his fraternity commitments while also attending practices, lifting weights and watching film is a task that has taken time for Sorenson to master. He does not, however, view these involvements as opponents, but rather experiences he can use in all aspects of life.
“They’ve provided me tools to apply not only in business, but to life and to football,” Sorenson said.
While networking with other driven students is worthwhile, Sorenson’s bearded face lights up the most talking about his Christian faith and the deeply-rooted friendships that it has brought him.
Sorenson’s friendship with redshirt sophomore quarterback Jackson Williamson has blossomed after digging deeper into how to follow Jesus as a college student and Division I football player.
“We’re the No. 1 guys that we go to,” Williamson said. “We’ve been guys that we can both rely on and lean on if we’re struggling with anything.”
These types of friendships are common in Sorenson’s life through connections to Cobblestone Community Church and Cru, an on-campus Christian organization. The ability to go beneath the surface with others has been a pivotal part of his growth throughout college.
“They don’t care if I dropped a ball or caught a ball,” Sorenson said. “It’s way bigger than that.”
Sorenson views his Christian community as an outlet that helps him as a football player. Following Jesus gives football meaning to Sorenson.
“It’s a platform to spread what Jesus has given you,” Sorenson said. “These gifts are given to me for a purpose.”
The pressure to perform as a student at Miami is intense, especially for a student like Sorenson who is asked to come through in multiple circles of people across different types of organizations.
However, Sorenson has found an anchor to hold him steady when injuries hit, a job falls through or a class gets difficult. He can remain confident when he fails because he knows, one way or another, God will “be there for me.”
After all, football ends. And when that day comes, Sorenson will be just fine.