Penn State guard John Urschel is a genius with a mean streak on the football field, and an offensive lineman working on a second master's degree in math.

The soft-spoken Urschel has emerged as an unlikely — but ideal — leader in Happy Valley as the Nittany Lions open preseason camp.

The focus of camp is squarely on the starting quarterback race between junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson and touted freshman Christian Hackenberg.

Whoever coach Bill O'Brien picks should have a relatively experienced line up front led by Urschel, a fifth-year senior. He's known for his 4.0 GPA and smarts on the field.

Receiver Allen Robinson calls Urschel a genius. Line coach Mac McWhorter says the burly Urschel has flexibility but remains one of the strongest players on the team.