STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The Nittany Lions didn't have any football finalists for national athletic awards like the Biletnikoff, but they sure are reeling in the academic ones.
On Monday, offensive guard John Urschel earned the Senior CLASS Award, which goes to the top senior student-athlete in the FBS and is voted on by a selection of coaches, media and fans. If this sounds like deja vu, you're not too far off. Two weeks ago, Urschel also managed to earn the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is known as the "Academic Heisman."
No Penn State football player has ever before won either honor.
"John Urschel epitomizes what a Penn State student-athlete is all about," Bill O'Brien said in a news release.
The offensive guard found a spot on the All-Big Ten team and was also named an AP Third-Team All-American this season. But it's really been the academic side of things where he's shined.
He boasts a 4.0 GPA, is currently working on his second master's degree and even teaches -- yes, teaches -- a math class called "Integral Vector Calculus." Urschel has also had two academic papers accepted for publication, with more on the way, and you'd have to be considered a genius just for understanding the titles.
His first, published in Celestial Mechanics and Dynamic Astronomy, is titled, "Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem." Good luck making sense of it. It looks like something straight out of "Good Will Hunting."
Urschel has said he plans to pursue a Ph.D. -- but not until his football career is over. He hopes to play in the NFL and also take up chess as a serious pursuit at some point. (Apparently, he's already got Connect Four down.)
"I am honored and grateful to have been selected the Senior CLASS Award recipient," Urschel said. "I have tried to represent my team, university and family as best as possible during my time at Penn State. I am very appreciative and thank my family, professors, coaches, teammates and friends for all their support and help they have provided with all my academic and football pursuits at Penn State."