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Jan. 14, 2015
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State football team produced a record-setting academic performance during the fall 2014 semester, with 51 squad members earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average, the second-highest total in program history.
Coach James Franklin's squad set program records with 25 student-athletes earning Dean's List recognition, 57 players owning a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher after the fall semester and 21 true freshmen posting a 3.0 GPA or better last fall.
"We take a great deal of pride in our academic performance and we are committed to a high level of success and achievement in the classroom and on the field," Franklin said. "I have been so impressed by the dedication, work-ethic and pride our players have demonstrated with all their academic and team responsibilities. We want our players to have the complete student-athlete experience at Penn State!"
The 51 football student-athletes with 3.0 GPA or higher last fall trails only the record 55 honorees from the 2008 fall semester. Among the Nittany Lions posting a 3.0 GPA or higher, a program record 25 posted a 3.5 GPA or higher and passed a minimum of 12 credits, to earn Dean's List honors.
The previous high for Dean's List honorees was 20 in the fall 2012 semester. The 25 Dean's List honorees are nearly double the 13 recipients during the fall 2013 semester.
The outstanding academic performance brings to 57, also a program record, the total number of Penn State football student-athletes with a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA through the fall semester. The previous record was 51 after the fall 2012 semester. A total of 47 of the 57 Nittany Lions returned for the 2015 spring semester.
Redshirt sophomore kick snapper Tyler Yazujian (Royersford) posted a perfect 4.0 GPA last fall and brings a superlative 3.86 GPA into the spring semester. A 2014 CoSIDA Academic All-District® selection, Yazujian handled all of the Nittany Lions' snaps on placements and punts this past season.
In addition to Yazujian, among the other returning Nittany Lions who made the Dean's List last fall were: tight end Adam Breneman (Mechanicsburg), tackle Brendan Brosnan (Park Ridge, Ill.), tight end Kyle Carter (Bear, Del.), placekicker Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Ind.), guard Brian Gaia (Pasadena, Md.), punter Chris Gulla (Toms River, N.J.), cornerback Grant Haley (Atlanta), quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.), punter Daniel Pasquariello (Melbourne, Australia), H-back Dom Salomone (Dillsburg) and linebacker Troy Reeder (Wilmington, Del.)
A program record 21 true freshmen earned a 3.0 GPA or higher during the fall semester, an increase from the previous record total of 17 in each of the past two fall semesters. In addition to Brosnan, Haley, McSorley and Reeder, safety Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro, Md.), wide receiver Saaed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J.) and wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) were among the true freshmen who earned a 3.0 GPA or better.
Allen, Blacknall, Godwin and Haley were among the nine true freshmen that played last fall, with the remainder taking a redshirt season.
The outstanding academic performance is the latest success in a long line of academic achievement for members of the Penn State football program, who consistently are at or near the top nationally in academic success:
- A Big Ten Conference-high 16 members of the Penn State football team had earned their degrees prior to the Nittany Lions' win in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to rank in the top 10 percent among all Football Bowl Subdivision institutions. Among the 16 graduates are returning juniors Carter, Ben Kline, Angelo Mangiro and Matt Zanellato; - Penn State's 87 percent graduation figure was second-highest in the Big Ten and tied for No. 13 overall among the nation's 128 FBS institutions, according to 2014 NCAA data. The 87 percent figure was tied for the football program's second-highest graduation rate (with 2011); - The Nittany Lions' 87 percent football graduation rate was tied for No. 5 among all public FBS institutions. Penn State's graduation figure was 16 points higher than the 71 percent FBS average and was second to Northwestern among Big Ten institutions, according to the NCAA. - Penn State's all-time total of 63 Academic All-America® football honorees ranks third among all FBS institutions; - The Nittany Lions' 18 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans® over the past nine years (16 first-team selections) leads the nation. John Urschel earned first-team Academic All-America® accolades in 2012 and 2013 and he became Penn State's first recipient of the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy in 2013. Penn State has had a least one first team ESPN Academic All-American® in nine of the past 11 seasons; - A total of 348 of Penn State football student-athletes, including 20 in 2014, have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors since 1993 for owning at least a 3.0 grade point average and being a letterwinner.
The Nittany Lions capped the 2014 season with a 31-30 overtime win over Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Penn State and Wisconsin are the only Big Ten teams to earn at least 10 consecutive on-field winning seasons. Franklin is among just three Penn State head coaches to win at least seven games in his first season in Happy Valley.
Penn State returns 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist), and 14 additional players who have started, for the 2015 season. The Blue-White Game is April 18 in Beaver Stadium and the season opener is Sept. 5 at Temple. Penn State season ticket renewals are underway for the 2015 campaign. The Nittany Lion Club donation and season ticket payment deadline is February 1 for participation in the Beaver Stadium Virtual VenueTM Seat Selection. There will not be any increase in the price of Penn State football season tickets or Nittany Lion Club donation levels for next season.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2015 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays, 10 a.m-6 p.m.
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