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Nearly 50 Members of Nittany Lion Football Team Earn 3.0 GPA or Higher During Fall Semester

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John Urschel

Jan. 16, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., January 17, 2013 - The Penn State football team produced another outstanding academic performance during the Fall 2012 semester, with nearly 50 squad members earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average, including a record number on the Dean's List.

Among the 47 Nittany Lions posting a 3.0 GPA or higher, a program record 20 earned Dean's List recognition by earning a 3.5 GPA or higher this past semester. The previous mark was 19 Dean's List honorees during the 2008 Fall semester.

The total of 47 high achievers is tied for fourth-highest Fall total in program history with 2005, trailing only 55 honorees (2008), 50 (2004) and 49 (2009).

The superlative academic performance by Coach Bill O'Brien's squad brings to 51 the total number of Penn State football student-athletes with a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA through the fall semester. A total of 38 of the 51 returned for the 2013 spring semester.

Redshirt junior guard John Urschel (Williamsville, N.Y.) posted a perfect 4.0 GPA for the seventh consecutive semester last fall. A graduate student, Urschel brought a 4.0 cumulative GPA into the spring semester and is on schedule to earn a master's degree in math in May. A 2012 first-team All-Big Ten selection, Urschel was a first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American® last fall.

Among the returning Nittany Lions who made the Dean's List last fall were: defensive end Brad Bars (Nashville), tackle Nate Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio), safety Jesse Della Valle (Pittsburgh), placekicker Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Ind.), linebacker Ben Kline (Seven Valleys), safety Ryan Keiser (Selinsgrove).



Bars and Kline joined Urschel and Pete Massaro (Newtown Square) on the 2012 CoSIDA Academic All-District® team. Massaro earned First-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® honors for the second time.

First-team All-Big Ten honorees Kyle Carter (Bear, Del.) and Allen Robinson (Southfield, Mich.) were among the returning Nittany Lions who earned a 3.0 GPA or higher last fall.

Seventeen true freshmen earned a 3.0 GPA during the fall semester, led by Dean's List honorees Colin Bryan (Windber), Adam Cole (Belle Vernon), Jack Haffner (State College), Bryant Harper (McKeesport) and Dominic Salomone (Dillsburg).

Among the returning Nittany Lions joining Carter, Della Valle, Ficken, Kline and Urschel with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA entering the spring semester are: linebacker Glenn Carson (Manahawkin, N.J.), guard Miles Dieffenbach (Pittsburgh), tight end Garry Gilliam (Carlisle), linebacker Mike Hull (Canonsburg), wide receiver Alex Kenney (State College), tight end Matt Lehman (Newport), safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (Bronx, N.Y.).

Glenn Carson

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:

- Penn State football broke its program record for the second consecutive year with an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 91 percent, tied with Rutgers for the No. 7 graduation rate among all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, according to the NCAA in October, 2012. Penn State's GSR was significantly higher than the 68 percent FBS average and was second to Northwestern (97) among Big Ten Conference institutions;

- Penn State football student-athletes that enrolled in the University in the fall of 2005 earned a program record Federal graduation rate of 93 percent. Penn State's 93 percent graduation rate was 33 points higher than the 60 percent FBS average and was second to Northwestern (95) among Big Ten Conference institutions, according to the NCAA data;

- The Nittany Lions' 17 Academic All-Americans® over the past seven years (15 first team selections) leads the nation. Penn State has had a least one first team ESPN Academic All-American® in nine of the past 11 seasons (17 overall selections);

- The Nittany Lions' all-time total of 51 Academic All-America® football honorees ranks third among all FBS institutions.

- A program record 28 Penn State football student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors last fall for owning at least a 3.0 grade point average and being a letterwinner. Bringing the Nittany Lions' total to 308 honorees since 1993.

Led by first-year coach Bill O'Brien, the ESPN and Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year, the Nittany Lions posted an 8-4 overall mark and finished second in the Big Ten Leaders Division with a 6-2 record. Penn State won eight of its final 10 games, with the only losses coming against division winners Ohio State and Nebraska. In the season finale, the Nittany Lions beat eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin, 24-21, in overtime.

Season tickets are available for the 2013 season. The Nittany Lions will host three teams that finished in the 2012 BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21). Purdue, Illinois, Virginia and Eastern Michigan also will visit Beaver Stadium next year. The Nittany Lions open the season Aug. 31 vs. Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can go to or call 1-800-648-8269 (1-800-NITTANY) weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

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