Things won't be much different for John Urschel in the classroom this fall. Penn State's junior right guard has already picked up his degree in mathematics, and he'll pursue his master's degree in mathematics this semester.
John Urschel (left) has been a role model for young linemen like Donovan Smith (background).
"Fewer classes but they're a little bit more work," said Urschel, who tallied a 4.0 grade-point average while getting his degree in just three years. "I'm going along the same path I've been doing."
On the field and in the locker room is where Urschel expects to see some change.
"It's a different feeling to kind of be one of the leaders on the team," he said at Penn State's Lift For Life. "It's a little strange, but at some point you have to try to step up and contribute, help us get some wins in the fall."
One of the few veterans on Penn State's deep but inexperienced offensive line (senior center Matt Stankiewitch is the lone returning starter), Urschel will be expected to provide both stability and leadership and help bring some of the younger players along. That includes the hulking offensive tackle who might be the Nittany Lions' best line prospect, redshirt freshman Donovan Smith.
"I always try to help Donovan out when I can," he said. "He's going to be a really, really good player. He's going to definitely contribute this year and help us out a lot."
Urschel credited former Penn State linemen like Stefen Wisniewski with showing him the ins and outs of playing at the college level. He's looking to do the same for Smith, who is currently penciled in as the first-team left tackle.
"Just maybe the amount of dedication and focus it takes to be really good," Urschel said. "He's been putting in the work from a young age right now. He's working as hard as any of us. I think he's done a great job and it'll pay off in the fall."