Dallastown High School graduate Ben Kline has been honored for successfully combining academics and football at Penn State University.
Kline was one of four Nittany Lions selected to the Capital One Academic All-District Football Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). All four will now be eligible for consideration for the Academic All-America Team.
Kline is a backup sophomore linebacker for the Lions. He has a 3.92 grade-point average in the Smeal College of Business. On the field, he's played in all nine PSU games, compiling nine solo tackles and six assisted tackles. Kline earned All-District honors in the first year that he was eligible.
The other three PSU honorees are: defensive end Brad Bars, defensive end Pete Massaro and guard John Urschel. Massaro and Urschel have already earned their PSU degrees.
Penn State's four Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees are tied for the most among all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions with Duke, Nebraska and Northern Illinois. The quartet of honorees are the most for the Nittany Lions since having four in 2009.
The Lions' contingent is led by junior Urschel, who earned Academic All-District accolades for the second consecutive year. A starter in all nine games this season for Coach Bill O'Brien's Lions, Urschel graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average last May in math and is working on a master's degree in math.
Massaro, a senior, was a 2010 first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American. He graduated in December 2011 with a 3.85 grade-point average in finance and is on schedule to earn a second degree, in economics, in December. Massaro missed the 2011 season with a serious knee injury and was not eligible to be nominated for Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America consideration last year.
Bars, a junior, earned All-District honors for the first time. He owns a 3.84 GPA in finance.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 on a scale of 4.00 and have achieved sophomore athletic eligibility.
The Nittany Lion football team has had a least one first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American in seven of the past eight seasons. Penn State leads the nation with 15 Academic All-Americans over the past six years (13 first-team selections), including a program-record five in 2008.
Penn State's 49 Academic All-Americans all-time rank No. 3 in the nation among Football Bowl Subdivision programs. In October, NCAA data revealed that the Penn State Football student-athletes earned a program-record 91 percent Graduation Success Rate, tied for No. 7 among the nation's 120 Football Bowl Subdivision institutions.