Urschel to be honored at National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Dinner


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State senior standout John Urschel (Williamsville, N.Y) will be honored today (Dec. 10) at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's annual celebration of college football.

A two-time first-team All-Big Ten guard, Urschel will be recognized as one of 16 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, presented by Fidelity Investments, from across all NCAA and NAIA divisions. Urschel and the 2013 Scholar-Athletes will be honored at the National Football Foundation's 56th annual black tie awards dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

A two-time first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American, Urschel will receive an $18,000 scholarship for post-graduate studies. He also is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, presented to the nation's premier college football Scholar-Athlete, with the winner receiving a total of $25,000 for post-graduate work. The Campbell Trophy recipient will be announced Tuesday night at the Hall of Fame Dinner.

Live coverage of the Hall of Fame Dinner will be available at 8 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN3.com.

A 4.0 grade-point average student for coach Bill O’Brien’s squad, Urschel is the 17th Nittany Lion to be selected a Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete. He follows another standout offensive lineman and first-team Academic All-American, Stefen Wisniewski (2010), on the distinguished list.

Penn State is tied for third in the nation (with Notre Dame) with its 17 Scholar-Athlete recipients. Nebraska (22) and Ohio State (20) are the only schools with more honorees than the Nittany Lions.

“I am extremely grateful for the honor of being named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete,” Urschel said. “I am proud to represent both my team and university in a positive manner, and thank my professors, coaches, teammates and family for the support and guidance in my years as a Penn State student-athlete. I take great pride in excelling in the classroom and on the field, and I look forward to meeting all the recipients in New York City.”

The Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Awards are awarded on an annual basis to a select group of college football players in their senior year of eligibility who have demonstrated outstanding academic success, strong leadership, citizenship and superior football performance.          

In addition to Wisniewski, among the other Penn Staters to earn the prestigious Scholar-Athlete honor since its inception are Mark Markovich (1973), Lance Hamilton (1985), Tony Pittman (1994), Jeff Hartings (1995), Wally Richardson (1996), Aaron Collins (1997) and Paul Posluszny (2006). Director of Athletics Dave Joyner was Penn State’s first Scholar-Athlete recipient in 1971.

A 6-foot, 3-inch, 301-pound guard, Urschel has established himself as one of the nation's exceptional football student-athletes. A starter in all 24 games the past two seasons and the anchor of the offensive line, he has earned a 4.0 grade-point average during his Penn State career and was among seven of the 171 Scholar-Athlete nominees with a 4.0 GPA from all NCAA and NAIA divisions.

Elected a 2013 co-captain, Urschel is among the eight Nittany Lions who had earned their degrees prior to the season, with five more seniors on schedule to graduate this month. Urschel graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average in math in three years, earned his master’s degree in math in one year, and is working on a second master’s, in math education while maintaining his 4.0 GPA. Urschel plans to pursue a doctorate upon completion of his football career.

Urschel has taught a section of Math 232 - Integral Vector Calculus - this semester on the University Park campus, in addition to his academic and football responsibilities. He taught a section of Math 041 – Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry – during the 2013 spring semester. Urschel has participated in the Penn State Lift for Life, THON events, the Relay for Life and the Special Olympics Pennsylvania State Summer Games during his collegiate career.

A paper written by Urschel titled, “Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem” was published in 2012 in the journal, Celestial Mechanics and Dynamic Astronomy. He has a second paper accepted for publication, "A Space-Time Multigrid Method for the Numerical Valuation of Barrier Options" in the journal, Communications in Mathematical Finance, and has written two additional papers that will be submitted soon for consideration to be published.

Urschel also is among 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. The former Canisius High School standout, who was featured on the "CBS Evening News" earlier this month, was an Academic All-District selection for the third consecutive year and is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Among the other 2013 Scholar-Athletes joining Urschel in New York this week are Max Bullough (Michigan State), Derek Carr (Fresno State), Spencer Long (Nebraska), James Morris (Iowa) and Aaron Murray (Georgia). Urschel, John Arena (Johns Hopkins) and Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma) are the three Scholar-Athletes with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

There are more than 120 chapters of the National Football Foundation, including the Central Pennsylvania Chapter.

In October, NCAA data revealed that the Penn State Football student-athletes earned an 85 percent Graduation Success Rate, second among Big Ten Conference institutions and in the top 10 percent among the nation’s 124 FBS institutions.

Penn State finished the season with a 7-5 record (4-4 in Big Ten), having won 15 of its last 22 games under second-year coach O’Brien. The Nittany Lions return 16 starters for the 2014 season (eight offense, seven defense, one specialist), which begins Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin.

For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing 2014 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or call 800-NITTANY from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

Penn State Athletics is on Twitter (http://www.gopsusports.com/ot/twitter.html) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pennstatenittanylions).

Media Contacts: 

Jeff Nelson

Last Updated July 11, 2014