But quarterbacks are just a small portion of a many many things Khoury, a junior, has on his plate. An electrical and computer engineering major, Khoury is forced to tackle the classroom with the same ferocity that he shows on a Saturday afternoon for the Tartans.
“Earlier in the week, I usually call it a night at 12 or 1 (a.m.),” Khoury said. “It’s the general, get up, go to classes. All my classes now are in the afternoon, but we have a couple morning obligations for football. We have 6:45 (a.m.) film (session) on Monday. Usually I’ll have class from 9 (a.m.) to 3 (p.m.) on the heavy days – otherwise it’s just an afternoon class – and then football from 4:30 to 7-7:30. Then you’re in the lab until about 10-10:30, or you’re in the library until pretty late, probably 1 (a.m.).”
Khoury – a Davenport, Iowa native – says his “rough days” are between Tuesday and Friday. Khoury’s rest comes on the weekend, meaning football has become solace from a tough class schedule. Khoury doesn’t let up when he steps onto the field, though.
The 6-foot-3, 235-lb defensive end has registered 13 sacks in eight games, along with 44 tackles. Of his 13 sacks, 11 have come in the last four games, as the Tartans (5-3) have been riding a 4-0 hot streak in which they’ve outscored opponents by a 214-67 margin.
Khoury’s biggest game of the season thus far was in a 41-13 victory over BR 150 St. Vincent on Oct. 24. In that game, he registered four sacks and six tackles. He attributed his success to his fellow defensive linemen.
“The other guys on the (defensive line) are containing,” Khoury said. “The quarterbacks have nowhere else to go, so someone has to tackle them.”
Khoury also credited the run defense to help set up the pass rush.
“We pressure with three guys up front, occasionally we’ll have a fourth linebacker,” Khoury said. “For the most part, we’ve been getting really good pressure with three guys. The coaches do a good job of scouting the opponent. If it’s likely it’s going to be a pass, based on the percentages of the game film, we have a good idea if it’s going to be a pass or run before the play. I can pin my ears back a little bit more, go after the quarterback. Most of it comes from our run defense. We have linebackers stepping up and filling holes. Jack Fagan, Marcus Anthony, Sam Rylowicz and Stanley Bikulege. They’re taking care of their jobs and once they stop the run, (other teams) go to the pass and you really just get a chance to go after the quarterback.”
With football on Saturdays, Sunday has become Khoury’s only real “rest” day. With that sort of schedule, sleep is his most important and sought after resource.
“He’s a dedicated weightlifter, he spends a lot of time in the weight room,” said Carnegie Mellon coach Rich Lackner. “He eats right. The only thing lacking with the kid – with his electrical and computer engineering curriculum here – the only thing lacking at times is some sleep.”
Khoury said he picked his major as most college students do, not quite knowing precisely what he wanted to do after school. He found a major that interests him, and also covers a variety of jobs in the work world. “I always liked math, science and physics,” Khoury said. “I wanted a degree that was pretty broad. It allowed me to do some math and science, that’s where the engineering came from.”
Khoury is no stranger to grinding schedules, though. Before attending Carnegie Mellon, Khoury played junior hockey in Iowa and Massachusetts. He played two years for the Quad City Jr. Flames in Iowa before playing for the Valley Jr. Warriors of Haverhill, Mass. Khoury also played a season with the Northern Cyclones of Hudson, N.H.
“I wanted to play hockey in college, in order to do that I needed to take some time to play hockey in the developmental leagues,” Khoury said. “I took a shot at it. I fortunate to be in a spot where my grades were good enough where I could apply later (to college) and not have to worry about that. I took three gap years to pursue playing hockey at the collegiate level. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way I planned. But I guess right now things are going pretty well. It’s funny how things work out.”
Lackner believes Khoury’s technique has improved through the years, as well as his confidence.
“Physically, he’s very developed,” Lackner said. “I think we’ve seen enough with hockey players that toughness is never an issue. He’s an incredibly tough young man. Last year, he suffered a knee injury halfway through the season. This year, he’s come into his own in a couple ways. Number one, he’s stayed healthy. Number two, I just think he’s perfected his techniques and he has an incredible drive and ambition, sets incredibly high goals for himself. He just plays with a great motor. I think his confidence level has reached new heights, and I think that helps as well.”
There’s still plenty of football left for Khoury to add to his sack total. The Tartans host BR 46 Chicago on Saturday.