Jacob Hebda | Staff Writer
Over the past few seasons, the Duquesne football team has had one of the best offenses in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). While star players A.J. Hines and Nehari Crawford often steal the show, the team’s success could not have been possible without the contributions of a strong offensive line, led by senior Ben Huss.
Huss, a senior from the Pittsburgh suburb of Upper St. Clair, has been a star offensive lineman for the Dukes during the past four years. After a college career that was defined by lofty achievements, Huss is looking to take his talents to the National Football League.
As part of his training for the NFL, Huss played in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Jan. 20. The annual game gives draft-eligible seniors the opportunity to prepare for their potential NFL careers on a national stage.
Huss found the game to be “a great experience.” He said that it made him “better as a player and a person.”
Huss represented the National team, which was led by Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Martz. Representing Duquesne well, he helped propel the National team to a 23-0 victory over their opposition, the American team.
The game was perhaps a high point in what Huss described as a lifelong passion for football.
“I started playing football at five,” he said detailed. “I realized I could play in college when I was little.”
Head Coach Jerry Schmitt, who has led the Dukes for the past 13 seasons, certainly recognizes the passion Huss has for football. Schmitt spoke extremely highly of the lineman, citing him as a key part of the Duquesne football program.
“He was a four-year starter, three-time All-American, a stalwart on the offensive line,” Schmitt said. He added that Huss is “very intelligent” and “helped manage players, including younger ones.”
It’s not just Huss’ coach who recognizes his talent. Football pundits have continually regarded Huss as one of the best offensive linemen in the FCS. He was chosen as a member of the 2017 STATS FCS All-America Third Team and has been selected to the All-Northeast Conference First Team three times.
After plenty of success in college, Huss is prepared to take on the challenge of playing professionally should he be given the opportunity.
When asked what sets him apart from other players, Huss explained that “It’s not my height, not my weight, but my athletic ability. God gifted me with athleticism.”
Coach Schmitt also praised the athletic abilities of the lineman. According to Schmitt, Huss has plenty of physical qualities that make him capable of playing in the NFL.
“For a guy of his size, he has an extraordinary amount of athleticism,” Schmitt explained. “He’s a scratch golfer, an all-around athlete.”
However, Huss made clear that attention to detail is also essential. He repeatedly emphasized the importance of “paying attention to everything.”
He also described how his time at Duquesne has improved him as a person.
“It’s the little things,” Huss explained. “Showing up to class, showing up a few minutes early to practice, taking good notes … It’s made me better as a human.”
Schmitt discussed how it feels to have watch one of his players mature as a player and a person saying, “He’s accomplished what we try to do here … He’s a good role model.”
As someone with plenty of experience both on the field and in the classroom, Huss had some advice for younger student-athletes.
“Manage your time well,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff going … use your time well.”
Huss’ wise words could apply to more than just student-athletes.