Ficken among candidates for scholar-athlete honors

Penn State head coach James Franklin celebrated with kicker Sam Ficken following Ficken's 36-yard, game-winning field goal that secured the Nittany Lions 26-24 win over Central Florida in the 2014 Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland. Credit: Bobby ChenAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State senior Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Indiana) is among the candidates for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s Scholar-Athlete Fellowship and the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments, to the nation’s premier college football student-athlete.

A co-captain, Ficken is among the Campbell Trophy semifinalists and has an opportunity to become Penn State’s 18th NFF Scholar-Athlete recipient. Last year, All-America guard John Urschel became the Nittany Lions’ first recipient of the Campbell Trophy and the 17th Penn State football student-athlete to be selected an NFF Scholar-Athlete.

The 2013 Scholar-Athletes will be announced in late October and honored at the National Football Foundation’s 57th annual black tie awards dinner Dec. 9 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Penn State two-time All-America linebacker Shane Conlan will be inducted into the NFF College Football Hall of Fame at the event.

Penn State is tied for third in the nation (with Notre Dame) with its 17 Scholar-Athlete recipients. Nebraska (22) and Ohio State (20) are the only schools with more honorees than Penn State. Urschel and Stefen Wisnieweski (2010) are the Nittany Lions’ most recent honorees of the NFF $18,000 post-graduate fellowship.

Ficken is in his third season as the Nittany Lions’ starting placekicker. For the third straight year, he leads the squad in scoring with 36 points, having made eight of nine field goals and all 12 of his PAT attempts. Ficken leads the Big Ten Conference, and is tied for ninth nationally, in field goals made per game (2).

Ficken’s strong start in helping coach James Franklin’s Nittany Lions to a 4-0 mark has boosted him up the Penn State records charts. He has 207 career points to move into eighth place on the school career list. Ficken’s 38 career field goals are good for a tie for No. 8 on the Penn State list, with Matt Bahr and Robbie Gould tied for sixth with 39.

The former Valparaiso High School standout earned his third career Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honor after kicking the game-winning 36-yard field on the final play to lift Penn State to a 26-24 win over UCF in the season opener. Ficken was a career-high 4 of 4 on field goals in the thrilling win over the Knights.

Ficken is on schedule to earn his bachelor’s degree in finance in December, doing so in 3.5 years. He was selected Academic All-Big Ten in 2012 and ’13 and has been nominated for Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America consideration the past two years.

A dean's list student, Ficken has been inducted into Penn State’s Spiritus Leoninus honor society, which recognizes student-athletes for outstanding performance in athletics, academics, leadership and community service.

This summer, Ficken was an intern with Merrill Lynch, working with the LATAM (Latin America) Linked Markets team.

Penn State (4-0, 1-0) hosts Northwestern on Saturday for the Nittany Lions’ 95th Homecoming game and its Big Ten home opener. Kickoff is at noon and the game will air on BTN, the Penn State Sports Network and

Public and special student $40 tickets are available for the Northwestern game, with student tickets available in advance at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office. Public tickets are available at, 800-NITTANY (weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m) or at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office (weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.).

Public and student $40 tickets also will be on sale Saturday from 8 a.m  through the noon kickoff at the Beaver Stadium ticket office near Gate E.

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Last Updated September 26, 2014