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College Wrestling Star Ben Askren Wants to Try the Octagon, Not the WWE Ring

If you checked out the 2007 ESPY nominations (and I know you did, otherwise you wouldn't be able to fill out the ballot for your ESPY office pool), you probably stumbled over the nominations for Best Male College Athlete: Texas forward Kevin Durant, Ohio State center Greg Oden, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith and Missouri wrestler Ben Askren.

Does one of those names not sound quite as familiar as the other three?

Durant and Oden have signed on to make NBA millions, and Smith will soon be making NFL hundreds of thousands, but Askren now works as a volunteer coach at Missouri. But I just saw Askren on ESPNews, and I came away impressed. So let me tell you a little about him: He's a four-time All-American, went 42-0 last season, and is a two-time winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy, the wrestling equivalent of the Heisman.

And my favorite thing about him is that he said that while he knows he can't equal the professional careers of Durant, Oden and Smith (well, maybe he can equal Smith), he does plan to turn professional. It's just that he'll turn professional in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which he says he has his eyes on for the future.

Asked whether he would ever become a professional wrestler, Askren said, "It's not really wrestling. It's more acting than anything."