In heartbreaking news on Wednesday, Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher will miss the remainder of the 2021 season, per head coach James Franklin. Mustipher is a senior and was in his second season as a full-time starting for the Nittany Lions along the defensive line.
Penn State DT PJ Mustipher is out for the year, per James Franklin.— Sean Fitz (@seanfitz247) October 13, 2021
As usual, Franklin did not disclose what Mustipher's injury was, but the big defensive tackle appeared on crutches in the second half against Iowa, so a lower leg injury is the assumption.
It's a tough pill to swallow for the former blue-chip recruit, as he had been playing the best football of his career and was well on his way to locking up a spot as an early-round draft pick in the next NFL Draft. Mustipher, who did consider declaring for the draft after the 2020 season, will now have a difficult choice to make about whether to enter the draft with his stock potentially lowered due to the injury, or to come back for one last go in Happy Valley in 2022 in hopes of cementing himself as a top-round selection.
Should this be the last we see of Mustipher in a Penn State uniform, it has been a pleasure watching him play football. Over the course of 36 career games, he racked up 107 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, and forced 2 fumbles. He had started the 2021 season very strongly, with 21 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. He was also named a Rotary Lombardi semifinalist earlier in the day on Wednesday.
In Mustipher's place, Penn State will continue to rely on transfer Derrick Tangelo to lead things on the interior, along with Dvon Ellies and Coziah Izzard. Tangelo and Ellies led the defensive tackles in snaps against Iowa after Mustipher went down, with 64 and 45 plays respectively.