Penn State's defensive line just picked up a massive recruit – both figuratively and literally. PJ Mustipher, a four-star defensive tackle from Maryland who stands at 6'4.5 and 290 pounds, announced his commitment to the Blue and White. As the nation's No. 98 overall prospect, he is now the Nittany Lions' top-ranked defensive recruit in this class.
To earn Mustipher's signature, Penn State needed to beat out a number of other schools. Chiefly, at least early on, was Notre Dame. Mustipher's older brother Sam plays along the Fighting Irish's offensive line. Additionally, schools like Tennessee, Maryland, and Ohio State were purportedly heavily in the mix for his services.
The Mustipher File
- Class: 2018
- Size: 6'4.5, 290 lbs.
- Pos: DT
- School: McDonogh School (Owings Mills, MD)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★ (.9550)
- Composite Rank: No. 98 Nationally, No. 6 DT
Penn State has been on Mustipher for some time – according to 247Sports, his first unofficial visit occurred all the way back on Nov. 15, 2014. He returned to campus on March 28, 2015, at which time James Franklin extended an offer. This was good enough for the Nittany Lions to be named his leader on June 24, 2015.
But as always, Notre Dame messed everything up. The offer – one that it was believed he coveted – came in April of 2016, and at that point, many believed that Brian Kelly's squad moved into pole position.
He made more trips back to State College, including one in April of this year. That same month, Mustipher checked in at South Bend and Knoxville. Penn State seemed to move into a commanding position after visits in May and again last month for the Lasch Bash festivities.
It was a big win for the Nittany Lions on the recruiting trail, as they earned a commitment from one of the best defensive tackles in the region, and an Opening Finalist. As he develops, he has the potential to be analogous to former Nittany Lion Austin Johnson, a massive player at tackle who eats up space and raises hell in backfields.
But that's Mustipher's future. For now, he is the 22nd member of Penn State's 2018 class. With his commitment, the Nittany Lions move back ahead of Texas to No. 3 in the 247Sports rankings.