The Nittany Lions defensive line received a massive boost on Tuesday when senior defensive tackle PJ Mustipher announced that he would be using his extra year of eligibility to return to Penn State for the 2022 season.
Mustipher has been a steady contributor for his entire career at Penn State, but he really took his game to the next level in 2021. Unfortunately, while in the middle of a career season, Mustipher went down with a season-ending knee injury against Iowa — which, as a reminder, the Iowa fans boo’d and Kirk Ferentz had no particular issue with. Just a reminder.
Mustipher doesn’t have the gaudiest of stats — he has just 10 TFLs and 3 sacks in 36 career games. Even this year, his stat line was modest: 3 TFLs and 1 sack. But anyone who watched Penn State knows just how good Mustipher was. At 6-foot-4, 326 pounds, he is a dominant 1-Tech, and someone who was playing themselves into an early round draft pick before the knee injury. With a full offseason to get healthy, hopefully a 100%-abled Mustipher shows in 2022.
Mustipher’s return gives Penn State some unbelievable depth at defensive tackle. Here’s a look at the projected three-deep.
3T: Coziah Izzard (RS SO) — Hakeem Beamon (RS JR) — Jordan van den Berg (RS SO)
1T: PJ Mustipher (SR) — D’Von Ellies (RS JR) — Fatorma Mulbah (RS SO)
Talented, experienced, deep — that should end up being one of the best defensive tackle groups in the Big Ten.