When it comes to academics and football, it’d be hard if not impossible for any present-day player to top Penn State’s John Urschel.
In December of 2013, the offensive lineman was named the winner of the prestigious Campbell Trophy, commonly referred to as the “Academic Heisman.” Friday night, Urschel added additional educational hardware to his trophy case as he was named the recipient of the 84th James E. Sullivan Award, presented annually by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to the nation’s’s top amateur athlete.
Urschel was one of 19 semifinalists and two finalists for the award — Florida track and field athlete Cory Ann McGee and Nebraska volleyball player Kelsey Robinson.
In taking home the Sullivan Award, Urschel became the seventh college football player to stake his claim to the iconic honor, joining Felix “Doc” Blanchard (Army, 1945), Arnold Tucker (Army, 1946), Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007) and Andrew Rodriguez (Army, 2011) .
Urschel, Manning, Tebow and Rodriguez are the only college football players who have won both the Sullivan Award and Campbell Trophy.
In addition to his mental prowess, Urschel is also a pretty damn good football player. A third-team All-American in 2013, the interior lineman was named first-team All-Big Ten each of the past two seasons. He participated in the NFL’s scouting combine this past February and is expected to be selected in the upcoming draft.
Urschel’s academic career is not behind him, however; after earning a bachelor’s in mathematics in May 2012 and a master’s in mathematics in 2013, he has continued his work on a second master’s degree in math education.