April 21, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard John Urschel (64) and center Matt Stankwitch (54) pass block in the first half during the spring game at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State Football Top Players-#10 John Urschel


Editor’s Note: This is the first of a 10-part series, counting down the top 10 players on the 2013 PSU Football roster.  Eric and I ranked our top 10 players, then averaged the rankings to come up with the list you will see over the next couple of weeks.  This is the first of several preview series we will be running starting this month, leading up to fall camp and kickoff of the 2013 season.  Enjoy!

We start our countdown of the top 2013 Nittany Lions with senior offensive guard John Urschel. Urschel is a graduate student who is very well-known not only for his solid play in the trenches, but also for his academic prowess and mastery. Urschel constantly earns a 4.0 grade-point average in the classroom and is on schedule to graduate in May 2014 with a masters in mathematics.

The Western New York native earned 2012 first-team All-Big Ten honors by the coaches and was a 2012 first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American. In addition, Urschel was a recipient of the 2013 Big Ten Medal of Honor, which goes to a student-athlete who has “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” Urschel also taught a math class this past spring semester to add on to his own school work, research and football obligations

Phil Steele has Urschel on his 2013 preseason All-Big Ten second team offense. Urschel will be one of three returning starters on the offensive line, along with fellow guard Miles Dieffenbach and offensive tackle Donovan Smith. Throughout the offseason, Bill O’Brien and the coaching staff has cited Urschel as one of the emerging leaders of the team. Urschel will certainly be remembered as one of the top student-athletes in the history of Penn State athletics. Let’s hope he finishes his Penn State football career with the same success that he’s had with his academics.

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