Penn State Football players and coaches have won and been nominated for several awards over the past two weeks, but yesterday’s honor was unique in that it had nothing to do with on-field performance.
Penn State joined Notre Dame as the only college football program with two first-team Academic All-American honorees as junior guard John Urschel and senior defensive end Pete Massaro were both selected to the Capital One Division I team.
Massaro had a 3.85 GPA last December when he received a finance degree and is currently on track to receive a second degree in economics in a few weeks. He also received this honor in 2010 but was ineligible last year after a knee injury during spring practice forced him to miss the entire season.
Urschel carries a 4.0 GPA as a mathematics major and should earn his Master’s this coming May. He is one of the most well-spoken players on the team and recently published a 32 page paper titled “Instabilities in the Sun-Jupiter Asteroid Three Body Problem.”
The Nittany Lions now have 51 all-time academic All-Americans, ranking them third in the nation. In four of the past five seasons, they have either led or been tied for the most first-team selections and lead the country over the past seven years.
Whatever Mark Emmert’s usual Thursday plans are, he was likely not having a real good time.