Ben Kline expected to make the first Penn State start of his career before last week against Illinois.
But since aggravating a shoulder injury in the summer, Kline's playing status has been determined week by week.
"It's been a little more trying than other seasons," said Kline, an outside linebacker from Dallastown High School. "It's definitely added something to the equation. I've tried to be ready when they need me."
The Nittany Lions needed Kline against Illinois last Saturday. He made a career-high eight tackles in a 24-17 overtime win over the Illini.
"He's a tough kid," Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said. "He comes to practice every day. I was talking to the team and I pointed him out as a kid I really enjoy being around.
"He's a 4.0 student (last spring). He's playing with a bum shoulder. He practiced well last week so he deserved to get the start."
Kline underwent surgery on his shoulder in January and might face another operation this winter.
"The trainers have done a really good job of helping me manage the pain," he said. "I'm just trying to get through the year right now and then we'll see what happens."
Defensive end Anthony Zettel, Kline's roommate, said making his first start was a big lift to him.
"I know how big it was," Zettel said. "He's a tough kid. Obviously he's not playing at 100 percent, but he's finding a way to make it work."
Kline, Urschel honored: Kline and offensive lineman John Urschel have been selected to the Capital One Academic All-District® Football Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
They will be eligible for consideration for the Academic All-America® Team.
Kline owns a 3.90 GPA as a finance major in the Smeal College of Business. It's his second-straight Academic All-District® selection.
A senior, Urschel was a 2012 first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American® and earns Academic All-District® accolades for the third consecutive year.
Urschel will have an opportunity to become the 11th Nittany Lion to earn first team Academic All-America® honors twice. A starter in all 20 games the past two seasons for PSU, Urschel graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average in math, earned his master's degree in math in one year, and is working on a second master's, in math education.
Amos' return: Penn State defensive back Adrian Amos said he felt like a freshman when he began this season at a new position, safety.
"It's adjusting to a new thing," Amos said. "It's like basically starting a new position all over again. You have to learn the different techniques and what to do in certain situations."
Amos returned to cornerback against Ohio State and played perhaps his best game of the season last Saturday against Illinois. He made eight tackles and tipped Nathan Scheelhaase's overtime pass in the end zone, which teammate Ryan Keiser intercepted to cap the win.
"I don't know whether it was my best game, but I think I played pretty well," Amos said.
O'Brien said Amos likely will stay at cornerback with Jordan Lucas for the rest of the season. Amos said he's doing less thinking at cornerback than he did at safety.
"I've been playing football since I was young," he said. "This game is supposed to be fun. When I'm having fun and enjoying myself, I'm just out there playing and knowing my assignments."