Linebacker Kline named Campbell Trophy semifinalist

September 24, 2015

IRVING, Texas — Penn State senior linebacker Ben Kline was among of 135 scholar-athletes announced Thursday as semifinalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments, by The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (NFF).

The Campbell Trophy, which is housed at the New York Athletic Club, recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Kline is vying to become the first Nittany Lion to win the award since John Urschel in 2013.

Kline is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District choice and two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. He posted a perfect 4.0 GPA during the 2011 summer session and 2013 spring semester. Kline has posted a 3.50 GPA or higher in 11 of his 12 semesters on campus, including summer semesters and is a six-time Dean's List selection. He graduated with his degree in finance in December 2014 with a 3.76 cumulative GPA, in just three and a half years. He has begun work on his master's degree in international affairs. Additionally, Kline is a member of the Lion's Paw Senior Honor Society, a prestigious student-leadership senior honor society with 14 members from the 2015 graduating class.

The Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, native is a nominee for an American Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Each year 32 young Americans are selected as Rhodes Scholars, through a decentralized process representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The NFF will announce 15 finalists on Oct. 29, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. At the event, one member of the class will be declared in dramatic fashion the winner of the 26th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

"These 135 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "It is important for us to showcase their success on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year's semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders."

In addition to his success in the classroom, Kline has not only been one of the most influential Nittany Lions in the community, but one of the most influential in all of college football, as he was recently named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Kline has served as the President of Penn State's Uplifting Athletes chapter for the last two years. In 2014, Uplifting Athletes raised a record-breaking $140,000 for Kidney Cancer Awareness and Research at its Lift for Life event. Overall, the group raised a record $155,000 total in 2014. The 2015 Penn State Lift for Life had approximately 2,500 fans in attendance and raised $120,000. Kline was among a contingent of Nittany Lion football student-athletes to visit Washington, D.C., for Rare Disease Awareness Day in the winter 2014.

The senior linebacker has also been involved in THON and Special Olympics during his time at Penn State. He is also the co-founding a student organization this summer that benefits an orphanage in Kenya. The orphanage has an academic partnership with Penn State, and Kline's organization supports that relationship.

Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the Campbell Trophy is a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program's all-time distribution to more than $11 million.

Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program became the first initiative in history to award postgraduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments, and it has recognized 804 outstanding individuals since its inception. The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's prestige, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft pick.

Last Updated September 25, 2015