BROKEN ARROW — Focus on getting a good education was the primary message delivered by Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Congressman Steve Largent to a group of about 250-300 Broken Arrow High School athletes Wednesday at the BA High School Multipurpose Facility Indoor Practice Field.

Wearing the trademark yellow Hall of Fame jacket, Largent, the former University of Tulsa All-American and seven-time NFL Pro Bowler, spent about an hour talking and answering questions.

After revealing how he barely graduated from Putnam City High School in 1974 with a 2.0 grade point average, he advised the student-athletes not to make the same mistake, and to concentrate on getting good grades.

“I did not get a good high school education, not because the teachers weren’t teaching, but because I wasn’t learning,” said Largent, who played 14 years with the Seattle Seahawks, retiring as the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. “There’s just one person who controls whether you’re going to get your education or not, and that’s you.”

He also related how, when an adviser at Putnam City High School suggested he go to trade school instead of college, he was motivated to work harder in the classroom at TU and vowed to graduate in four years.

“I got into the University of Tulsa and basically changed my ways, I found the light,” said Largent, who served as U.S. Representative from the 1st Congressional district in Tulsa from 1994-2002. “I said, ‘I’m going to get my education, I’m going to get it in four years,’ and that’s exactly what I did. I was a biology major at the University of Tulsa, had a 3.2 grade-point average, and that is probably one of the crowning achievements in my life. It’s not sports, it’s not being in the Hall of Fame, it’s not any of that stuff — it’s getting my degree in four years.”

Largent, 62, also talked about how many people told him he would never make it in the NFL because he was supposedly too small (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) or too slow, but he always believed and had “a competitive fire inside of me that was never quenched.”

While answering questions from the students for 30-plus minutes, Largent also admitted that baseball was actually his favorite sport to play and that he was set to play it at TU as well as football, but withdrew after a veiled threat from the new TU football coach. He also revealed that he suffered six concussions and related a story of what he believed was his best single play in the NFL — a crushing blindside hit on former Broncos safety Mike Harden after an interception.

Largent will also be the keynote speaker for the Tulsa World’s first All-World Awards Banquet on July 8 at the Marriott Southern Hills, scheduled from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. VIP tickets are $100 and All-World General Admission tickets are $40.

The All-World Awards website, www.allworldawards.com , has more information about the awards and is the site to purchase tickets. Finalists must RSVP to reserve their free tickets.

Listed alphabetically, below are the finalists for each sport’s Player of the Year that have so far been announced. The winners will be announced at the banquet July 8. The next sports’ finalists to be announced will be basketball, wrestling and swimming in April.

To nominate scholar, comeback and sportsmanship finalists — all school athletic directors should have been sent a form — email barry.lewis@tulsaworld.com or for more info on nominations, call Barry at 918-581-8393.

Here are the finalists so far:{h2}{span style=”text-decoration: underline;”}ALL-WORLD FINALISTS{/h2}

{&sh}FOOTBALL

Offense

BJ Bradbury, Adair

Shamari Brooks, Union

Tanner Griffin, Bixby

Reed Martin, Lincoln Christian

Malcolm Rodriguez, Wagoner

Defense

Tre Brown, Union

Jordon Curtis, Jenks

Levi Draper, Collinsville

Brock Martin, Oologah

Coby Tillman, Bixby

{&sh}VOLLEYBALL

Mia Bledsoe, Broken Arrow

Gloria Mutiri, Sand Springs

Sarah Thiessen, Jenks

{&sh}SOFTBALL

Rylie Boone, Owasso

Sydney Pennington, Sand Springs

Olivia Rains, Pryor

{&sh}CROSS COUNTRY

Boys

Daniel Mazzei, Berryhill

Henry Williams, Bartlesville

Matt Young, Jenks

Girls

Ellie Gilbreath, Regent Prep

Laynie Nichols, Claremore

Cheyenne Walden, Sand Springs