Nov. 26, 2012
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Joey Nelson
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Whether he's picking off an errant pass from an opposing quarterback or writing a lengthy, education studies paper, defensive back Lyle Dankenbring
continues to epitomize the definition of a student-athlete. He's not only in the midst of his final season as a UCF football player, but he is also about to conclude his graduate studies in secondary education. Dankenbring has managed plays on the field with time in the classroom like no other and looks to finish strong in both.
Since coming to UCF as a walk-on, Dankenbring excelled academically and also earned a scholarship for his efforts on the field. He received his bachelor's degree in political science and has been enrolled in graduate school since the summer of 2011. He has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point-average the past four semesters.
UCF football's top scholar says it has been earning the respect of his coaches and teammates that has made him the most proud.
"It's not so much the scholarship and the playing time, but just the respect of my peers and my coaches [that] is the most important thing," Dankenbring said. "They've seen me develop. When I got here, I wasn't physically ready to play. It's the fact that I was able to develop physically and kind of add that attitude you need to have."
That "me against the world, play with a chip on your shoulder" mentality is what pushes Dankenbring, leading him toward a passion to teach. He hopes to one day be a social studies teacher, explaining to high school students the ins-and-outs of government or how the voting process breaks down.
"My plan, when coming to college, was to find a degree that interested me and something that would keep my options open," Dankenbring explained. "I'd like to teach and coach. It's kind of what I've found I have a passion for. I just like being in that environment and being around kids. You can make an impact in people's lives."
Dankenbring says he's definitely learned a few life lessons during his time as a UCF football player and student, from understanding the importance of planning to the ability to overcome setbacks.
He believes strongly that academic and athletic success come directly from managing one's time. He says it is that skill that allows him to translate working through obstacles in life from the classroom to the football field.
"Everybody has setbacks athletically, whether it's an injury or whether you make a mistake during a game. You learn how to work through things and keep going."
Not many student-athletes can say they've managed a 4.0 GPA in grad school with hours in the weight room and plenty of hits on the gridiron. Dankenbring can. He is continuing to work hard as his time at UCF comes to an end, proving that student-athletes can be successful both on the football field and in the classroom.
This story appears in the November issue of Knights Insider magazine. The publication, which is published six times per year, provides an inside look at UCF student-athletes, coaches and alums. To order the magazine, click here.