With less than 14 weeks until the start of the PSU football season, today we’re focusing on potential captain and defensive line stalwart PJ Mustipher.
Mustipher came to Penn State from Maryland in the 2018 football recruiting class, opting to come to PSU over offers from Alabama, Ohio State, and Michigan, amongst others. The tackle, whose brother played at Notre Dame, is graduate of McDonogh School - where, in addition to garnering accolades upon accolades on the football field, he won two state championships in wrestling and still holds the school-record for fastest pin.
After that second title, Mustipher headed up to Happy Valley, where his presence was felt almost immediately - he saw time in 12 of the 13 games played his redshirt freshman season, garnering at least an assisted tackle in ten of those twelve games.
Mustipher built on that in his second season at Penn State. Though he started only one game, he was very solid in a backup role behind starters Antonio Shelton and Robert Windsor - and ended the year with 37 tackles, with 4.5 of those for loss.
Heading into the delayed and shortened 2020 season, Mustipher was expected to fill some big shoes as the new starter for the interior of the line - and he delivered, ultimately starting all nine games and ending the year with 35 tackles (second on the defensive line behind first round pick Odafe Oweh). His efforts on the field saw him named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, while also becoming an All-Big Ten Academic honoree off the field.
Once again, expectations are high for Mustipher headed into the 2021 season; he should be named to a number of watch lists and pre-season rankings. The jury’s still out whether he’ll still be at the 3-tech or shift over to the 1-tech, but he’ll be a leader on the line and, if he decides to not opt for a fifth season, should be seeing time in the league in 2022 after leaving Happy Valley.
Just 97 days until the first kickoff of the 2021 season!