Urschel named semifinalist for Sullivan Award

Fans can vote online for the Penn State All-American guard until March 23

An All-American offensive lineman, John Urschel maintained a 4.0 GPA while earning a bachelor's and master's in mathematics and working on another master's. Credit: GoPSUsports.comAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- All-American offensive lineman John Urschel has been named a semifinalist for the Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to America's top amateur athlete. Fans can log on to the AAU website and vote for Urschel, the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy winner from now until March 23.

"We are extremely excited that John has been nominated for this prestigious honor," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "It is a tremendous recognition not only for John but for Penn State football, the National Football Foundation and all of college football. We would like to thank the Sullivan Award Committee as well as Penn State Athletics Director Dave Joyner, who has been an enormous supporter of National Football Foundation and its efforts to promote the scholar-athlete ideal."

Online voting plays a critical role in determining the finalists and fans can vote for Urschel until March 23 by clicking here. Three finalists will be named later in March and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11 at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

First presented in 1930, the Sullivan Award honors an athlete who demonstrates the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism. Past football recipients of the Sullivan Award include College Football Hall of Fame inductees Felix "Doc" Blanchard (Army, 1945), Arnold Tucker (Army, 1946), and Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), and NFF National Scholar-Athletes and William V. Campbell Trophy winners Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007) and Andrew Rodriguez (Army, 2011).

A member of the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, Urschel claimed the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth and hosted at the New York Athletic Club, at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner. He also received a special tribute for his accomplishments when the NFF and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) jointly honored him in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 93,000 fans at the VIZIO BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Urschel participated in the NFL Combine in February and compiled a diary about the process for the Associated Press. He has also received extensive coverage from several prominent news organizations during his career, including Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, and the CBS Evening News.

A team captain and a key component to one of the Big Ten's most productive passing offenses, Urschel claimed Associated Press Third Team All-America honors, and he helped true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg earn the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award in 2013. A two-time First Team All-Big Ten guard, Urschel paved the way for three-straight 1,000-yard rushers and helped the Nittany Lions to winning seasons in all four years of his career. He also blocked for 3,000-yard passer Matt McGloin, who broke 10 school passing and total offense records in 2012. He contributed as a mainstay on an offensive line that led the Big Ten in total offense and ranked second in scoring and passing yards in conference play in 2012.

Urschel garnered back-to-back First Team Academic All-America honors in 2012 and 2013 to go along with three straight selections to the Academic All-District team. He earned a bachelor's in mathematics three years, a master's in mathematics one year later, and he is currently working on a second master's degree in math education - all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. The Williamsville, N.Y., native is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

Urschel taught a section of Math 232 - Integral Vector Calculus - during the 2013 fall semester on the University Park campus, in addition to his academic and football responsibilities. He taught a section of Math 041 - Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry - during the 2013 spring semester. Urschel participated in the Penn State Lift for Life, THON events, the Relay for Life and the Special Olympics Pennsylvania State Summer Games during his collegiate career.

A paper written by Urschel titled, "Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem" was published in 2012 in the journal, Celestial Mechanics and Dynamic Astronomy. He has a second paper accepted for publication, "A Space-Time Multigrid Method for the Numerical Valuation of Barrier Options" in the journal, Communications in Mathematical Finance, and has written two additional papers that will be submitted soon for consideration to be published.

Active in the community, Urschel has volunteered with the Penn State Uplifting Athletes chapter, Penn State Dance Marathon, Relay for Life, Special Olympics and Make-A-Wish events.

Notable past Sullivan Award recipients from sports other than football include Bruce Jenner (track & field), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Jackie Joyner-Kersey (athletics), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Jessica Long (paralympian), Greg Louganis (diving), Michael Phelps (swimming), Wilma Rudolph (athletics), and Mark Spitz (swimming).

The award is named for the founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, James E. Sullivan. Recognized as a pioneer in the amateur sports movement, Sullivan is credited with developing the current concept of the playground and organized recreation of the present day.

Penn State returns 15 starters and 41 letterwinners for the upcoming season. The Nittany Lions will begin spring drills March 17, with the 15 practices culminating in the Blue-White Game presented by AAA at 1:30 p.m. April 12. There is no parking or admission fee for the Blue-White Game.

Season ticket renewals are underway online at There again was no increase in season tickets prices for Penn State football for the 2014 season. New season tickets are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Penn State announced two new football ticket initiatives in January.

- The Recent Graduate program gives Penn State graduates who earned an undergraduate degree from 2010-14 at any campus the opportunity to purchase up to two season tickets for $300 per ticket for the seven-game home schedule this fall. The cost includes a $50 donation to the Nittany Lion Club and is a savings of 35 percent from the regular $460 season ticket price ($360 + $100 NLC donation).

- A total of 2,500 seats are available for the Recent Graduate program on a first-come, first-served basis. The seats will be located in the North Upper Deck, in Sections NAU-NLU. Interested recent graduates can call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

- Penn State will be implementing a variable pricing structure for its single game public football tickets during the 2014 season. Single game tickets will go on sale to the general public in July, with tickets being available for as low as $40 for some games. For a full list of prices by section for the 2014 football season, fans can log onto

Coach Franklin and the Nittany Lions open the season on Aug. 30 vs. UCF in Dublin, Ireland at the Croke Park Classic. Penn State will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. The Nittany Lions will play a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams this fall. 

Last Updated March 12, 2014