Penn State’s defensive line has been a fairly consistent unit over the years, and one where the ability to create playmakers has been consistently demonstrated. A year after sending Odafe Oweh to the first round of the NFL Draft, all eyes are on Arnold Ebiketie to see if he can sneak into the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, at State College, PJ Mustipher returns for one more season with Penn State in hopes of becoming another first-round pick. But before that, he must continue to recover from a knee injury that sidelined him this spring.
Despite being inactive on the training ground, Mustipher has provided the kind of leadership he can be counted on in his sixth season of eligibility. And it didn’t take long for Mustipher to show new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz why he’ll be a valuable asset to the defensive line.
“[Mustipher] don’t even practice but, man, you feel his presence every dayDiaz told reporters, according to Lions 247. “And he makes sure he’s on the defensive lineman.” He’s on defense in general.
Mustipher has helped keep his teammates motivated and improving this spring. Among those who have benefited from Mustipher’s leadership and encouragement is newcomer Zane Durant, who raised eyebrows this spring after signing up early with other members of the Class of 2022.
The defensive line looks to be one of the most exciting positional groups for Penn State in 2022, and the eventual return of a healthy Mustipher will be a key part of that equation. The first opportunity for Durant to get involved will come in handy, as will the eventual arrivals of Dani Dennis-Sutton (five-star addition to the Class of 2022) and Maryland transfer Demeioun Robinson.
While there are none of those three players in the Blue-White game, the entire defensive line unit will be worth watching in Penn State’s spring game. The unit lost promising Zuriah Fisher for the 2022 season to injury in the spring recently, but eyes will be on Adisa Isaac (who has just recovered from his own injury from last season) and Nick Tarburton. The Blue-White Game should also be a good opportunity for other players to get some good game time, including Smith Vilbert, Rodney McGraw and Amin Vanover.
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