Sophomore two-way lineman P.J. Mustipher visited Notre Dame last weekend to surprise his brother Sam, a current Irish offensive lineman.
“I wanted to surprise my brother and get a chance to see him,” said Mustipher, a 6-foot-5, 285-pounder from Owings Mills, Md. “I got in on Friday night and we went to practice Saturday morning and stayed Sunday. He was very surprised. Actually, Quinton Nelson was like, 'Sam, did I see your brother?' My brother was like, 'How am I supposed to know if you saw my brother?' Then I saw him walking out to practice and he was just smiling and all that. It was really nice to see him.”
As it turned out, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly had a surprise for P.J. Mustipher as well.
“I had just met with the academic people and then I went up to coach Kelly's office and he offered me,” Mustipher said. “He said they're going to recruit the heck out of me and I have a scholarship offer from Notre Dame. I was in awe. I was in shock when he said it. I just want to keep on improving my game on the field and not take this offer for granted. I just want to keep on being a better football player and better person and show I deserve this offer from Notre Dame.”
The Notre Dame staff has been recruiting Mustipher for several months. They initially told him they’d take their time to fully evaluate him before offering.
That changed when Mustipher landed offers from Ohio State and several other elite college football programs.
“They probably saw that Ohio State offer and said, ‘we've got to offer,’” Mustipher said. “It's all good. I'm just so blessed to be offered by a school like Notre Dame.”
Mustipher, who has visited South Bend several times before, is very high on the Irish but is in no hurry to end the recruiting process.
“They'll definitely be high on my list but I'm not going to commit there early or anything like that,” he said. “I'm going to look at all my options right now. My brother understands that I love him to death but this is my future, not his.”
Notre Dame is one of a handful of schools that prefers Mustipher on defense.
“I love defense,” he said. “That's my bread and butter right there so I have no problem with that. I love playing the three-technique and getting after the quarterback.”
Mustipher recently visited Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State and could see Penn State and Clemson in the near future.
Other than that, he plans to attend a few camps and could return to South Bend this summer for the Irish Invasion.
Mustipher spent the winter on the wrestling mat. He finished as the state heavyweight runner-up and also placed sixth at nationals to earn All-America honors. Now, he’s playing spring basketball.
“It was just a great winter,” he said. “The next day after nationals I was in the gym getting shots up so it's all good.”