Off The Field, Sharp Finds Joy In The Great Outdoors

July 31, 2009

College football is a year-round strenuous, stressful and exhausting lifestyle. Most of a student-athlete’s time is split among practice, meetings, weightlifting, conditioning, classes and tutoring sessions. With the small amount of free time available, University of Kansas senior running back Jake Sharp unwinds with two of his favorite activities: hunting and fishing.

“I go fishing all the time,” Sharp said. “I fish Clinton Lake. It’s pretty good. I have some buddies with boats, and we like to go out there. I like to hunt a lot too. I like to turkey hunt, deer hunt and coyote hunt. I really enjoy hunting, but the problem is that hunting season is during football season. It’s difficult to find time.”

Sharp’s passion for outdoor activities began at a young age, when his father introduced him to fishing. Soon 2008 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honoree was out with friends in his hometown of Salina, Kan. finding new fishing holes.

“I lived in the country and there were about five or six neighborhood boys that were my same age and we would just drive our four-wheelers out for about 10 square miles and hop on people’s ponds and fish their ponds,” Sharp said.

Now, he has found a few friends on the KU football team who have the same passions of hunting and fishing. Redshirt freshman fullback Tyler Hunt and senior linebacker Angus Quigley are always happy to spend an afternoon unwinding with him.

“Tyler Hunt has a farm pond,” Sharp said. “Any day we get off, we’ll go fish his pond and maybe target shoot with our shotguns or something. I go fishing with Angus Quigley a lot. He likes to go down to the lake and get on the dam.”

After the end of his senior season, Sharp will have plenty of time to get back to his outdoor activities. His goal is to own a home with several acres and a pond in order to be able to hunt and fish at his leisure. The two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection hopes to be able to make a career out of his passion as well.

“My roommate my freshman year (Tyler Lawrence) and I always talked about opening a fly fishing shop or a hunting and fishing lodge in Montana,” Sharp said. “Watch the movie “A River Runs Through It” one time, and tell me you don’t want to go to Montana. You’ll want to go to Montana and go fly fishing all the time.”

With the 2009 season quickly approaching, Sharp has less time to relax and spends most of his day preparing for his last year as a Jayhawk.

“The hardest part of summer workouts is trying to find time to eat food,” Sharp said. “I’m supposed to gain weight, but we run, then we lift. Then after lifting, I have class, so it’s hard to find time to eat. Waking up at five o’clock is not something anyone wants to do, either.”

Despite the hectic summer schedule, Sharp is ready to finish his college career on a high note. The Jayhawks will be fishing for their third straight bowl victory.

“I’m looking forward to being a senior,” Sharp said. “It’s my last time and I’m just so excited. It’s my last chance. I want to go out with my man T.R. (Todd Reesing) and Kerry Meier. We want to have a big year.”

Following his final season in the crimson and blue (and hopefully after accomplishing all personal and team goals), Sharp looks forward to spending his free time immersing himself in his outdoor passions.