Following Family Tradition?

From 1978 to 1988 most Nittany Lion fans remember the name Wisniewski. Leo started the tradition, then his younger brother Steve followed. Now there is a new Wisniewski on the block, Stefen a talented junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Will he follow the family tradition?

Leo Wisniewski started out his Penn State career in 1978 as a linebacker. Luckily for Wisniewski he found his niche as a defensive tackle, which then lead to a career in the NFL with the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately for Leo Wisniewski he left Penn State in 1982, one year before the Nittany Lions would capture the national championship. Leo's younger brother Steve Wisniewski has a slightly more fruitful career earning All-American honors with Penn State and then a lengthy NFL career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders where he earned multiple Pro-Bowl honors.

Steve Wisniewski was not only known for his skills as a lineman, but his temperament or lack thereof. He was often referred to as one of the dirtiest players in the game. Now along comes a third generation of Wisniewski family lineage that will play major college football. Stefen Wisniewski, a 6-3, 275 pound, offensive lineman from Pittsburgh Central catholic High in Pittsburgh, Pa. Stefen and his father Leo are still very close, and dad plays a big role in molding his son into what he has become.

"My father (Leo) became our defensive line coach this year, so I had the opportunity to work with him everyday," Stefen Wisniewski said. "He won't come out and tell me where to go, but he does give his opinion, so I listen and respect that. I don't really feel any pressure because he is my dad. I put as much pressure on myself as anyone else, so it doesn't bother me."

Wisniewski has already received scholarship offers from Penn State and Pittsburgh. He will attend a junior day event at University Park on February 11. Despite the family legacy, Wisniewski says he will take his time with making a decision.

"I wouldn't say that is necessarily true," he said. "I'm going to go through and check out schools. I was at the Notre Dame junior day and I plan on checking out others. I liked Notre Dame a lot. They have a great coaching staff and great facilities there."

Wisniewski attended the Penn State-Purdue game this year. He also took in the Pittsburgh-Notre Dame game as well.

"Penn State is great. They have huge crowds and they're always fired up," he said. "Pittsburgh had a nice atmosphere. The stadium was filled up that game and it was on national television. Penn State was the first school to offer me, it was cool I didn't really expect it at that time. It was a good feeling. Then I received an offer from Pittsburgh."

Wisniewski is a true two-way standout for the Vikings. This season he earned first team Associated Press All-State, All-conference, and All-League honors. He was also selected as a member of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22" team. Now the important decision for Wisniewski will be which side of the ball will he play on?

"Different schools say different things. I like both sides. I see myself as an offensive lineman, but I enjoy defense."

Wisniewski is an outstanding student who carries a 5.08 GPA, he has scored 690 Math and 580 verbal on the SAT. He is also attracting interest from Northwestern, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and Boston College.


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