7/6/2018 7:29:00 AM Ex-Badger and current NFL star Schobert imparts wisdom on T-Birds
In this Sept. 12, 2015 file photo Joe Schobert hauls down the quarterback during a college football game between Wisconsin and Miami (Ohio) at Camp Randall Stadium on the campus of UW-Madison.
Lakeland Union High School had a special visitor Sunday as former University of Wisconsin All-American and current Pro Bowl linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, Joe Schobert, spoke to the high school and youth football programs.
Schobert, a Waukesha West graduate, is heading into his third season in the NFL and took the time to speak to the parents, players and coaches at Lakeland.
The biggest piece of wisdom Schobert attempted to impart on the Thunderbirds was time management. Not only with athletics, but intertwining it with academics and duties of every day life.
"For me growing up, that's the thing I look back on and appreciate the most with sports and school," Schobert said. "Now, when I'm not doing stuff and I'm sitting on my butt at home, I feel that I need to be doing something. I feel like I'm getting a lot more stuff done than I would if I was unmotivated and lazy."
During his early years as an athlete, Schobert admits to being like many teenagers or young adults.
It was also one of his regrets early in high school and he believes he may have been even better had he managed his time more wisely.
"As a high schooler and in college I was the same way," he said. "When I had free time I wanted to play video games and watch TV for eight hours at a time and now I can sit at home and watch TV for an hour, but then I feel like I have to go and do something productive with my day. If I could go back in time and instill that in myself even earlier, I feel like I would have been even better."
In high school, Schobert was a member of a Waukesha West team that won a state championship, rushing for 296 yards on 38 carries in the WIAA Division 1 title game, but he did not field any Division I scholarship offers coming out of high school.
Originally, Schobert planned to walk on at the University of North Dakota, but after a strong performance in the WFCA Large School All-Star game he reversed course and became a preferred walk-on for the Badgers.
"I got a lot of those typed letters that (schools) send to everybody starting right after my junior year, and I thought before my senior year that I would start getting some real offers," Schobert said. "But I played baseball and summer basketball so I didn't go to summer camps, which help. They offer a lot of guys now, and Wisconsin since I've been a senior, has exploded in recruiting, but when I was senior it was still a hidden gem state. Going through my senior year, I kept expecting to get one and none ever came around so my whole spring I was trying to decide what to do."
Schobert also said he didn't regret the path he chose to take by playing other sports in the summer and also encouraged the athletes to play multiple sports in high school.
He also stressed the importance of lifting weights during the offseason, something he did not do until late into his high school career, which was another regret of his.
"At West they had a set program for us to follow so we would lift and run in the morning so when I was done with that, I'd go to baseball practice and from that I'd go to AAU basketball practices at night," Schobert said. "But I think we lifted and ran four days a week in the summer in the morning and I think we had 70 guys show up."
Changing his fitness regimen was not something done overnight, however.
Schobert had to make a commitment to lifting and running regularly, along with eating properly, which only intensified when he enrolled in Madison at 200 pounds and eventually graduated at 245.
"Playing college football - it's a mandatory lifestyle change. You have to do it," Schobert said. "Not everybody can do it, which is hard, but that's a great way to instill it into you. The hardest part about it is sticking to it. It's like New Year's resolutions and people saying, 'I'm going to workout more' but two weeks later they're not working out anymore. It's just sticking to that stuff and once you do it and stick with it, you start to see changes you start getting into a routine and it becomes a habit."
Another thing Schobert believes has helped his career is watching football.
While many college and professional athletes don't watch games on television during their free time, Schobert has always watched NFL or college football games during his spare time.
Schobert idolized other linebackers such as Clay Matthews and Von Miller during and found himself taking pieces of their game and implementing it into his own repertoire.
"In college I watched NFL stuff because on Sunday we had a morning meetings and watched our college stuff and then I'd sit down and watch all the NFL games that day," Schobert said. "I've always liked watching football. Saturdays are my favorite time because we're either traveling or playing at our home stadium so I watch the big games at night. It just kind of let's you relax because you can just watch and not have to think about what you're doing the next day. I watch a lot of football. I always have and I always will."
Nick Sabato may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NickSabatoLT.