By: Tim Whelan Jr.
McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) defensive tackle PJ Mustipher received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday at his school as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour.
“It means a lot,” Mustipher said. “It’s really a dream come true. And I’m not just saying that to say it. I’ve been watching this game since it started (in 2008), with Julio Jones playing on a practice field. All my life I’ve been doing everything I could do to be the best, and this is a chance to show what I’m all about.
“Since I was a little kid, football has always been a passion,” he added. “There was no, ‘It might not happen.’ It’s going to happen, and I’m going to find a way to make it happen.”
Mustipher, a 6-5, 290-pound four-star and Penn State commit, is ranked as the No. 12 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 6 recruit in the state of Maryland, according to ESPN.
Must committed to the Nittany Lions in August.
“Everything about Penn State – the academics, to the football and the coaching staff, it’s a family feel every time I’m up there,” Mustipher said. “I think it’s the best university in all of America, and it’s a place where I can thrive and prosper and grow to be the best student and best player I can be.”
Before he decided on Penn State, Mustipher said Tennessee, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Maryland and Michigan State were also in the mix. Mustipher’s older brother, Sam, is the starting center at Notre Dame.
Playing since he was four years old, Mustipher loves making a name for himself with his physical play.
“It’s a thrill to get to hit somebody legally for 48 minutes,” he said. “I love tracking the quarterback or the ball carrier, making tackles for loss. I go both ways for our team, so through wins and losses, I’m out there on the field. Being a leader, being around the guys, those are the things I really love about football.”
The Under Armour All America Game is scheduled for Jan. 4 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and will be televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EST.