"It's just that it's Linebacker U."

As unlikely as it may seem State College High has been a pipeline for football talent for decades for Penn State. From Matt Suhey and Mike McQueary to Larry Johnson and Jordan Norwood, the "home team" has sent a variety of impact players to PSU. This time Nathan Stupar is the most recent Little Lion prospect to don the Blue and White.

As a junior Nathan Stupar caught 42 passes for 644 yards and eight touchdowns at the tight end position. Defensively, at end he made 63 tackles, had eight sacks, picked off a pass and recovered two fumbles. This led to a four-star Scout rating and a strong interest in his abilties from around the nation, including offers from West Virginia, Virginia, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Maryland.

This season Stupar led his team to a 10-2 record with four shutouts along the way. On offense he had 15 carries for 188 yards (12.53 YPC) and a touchdown. In terms of receiving he pulled in 25 passes for 405 yards (16.20 YPC) with a long of 62 yards and six touchdowns. He also led his team with 593 all-purpose yards this season.

On defense Stupar has been called the "hardest hitter in the Mid-Penn Conference" and is considered one of the top prospects in Pennsylvania's Class of 2007. Altough his high school experience has focused on seeing action at tight end and defensive end, Stupar is projected to be a linebacker at the collegiate level, a position he is very excited about playing at Penn State.

As Bishop McDevitt coach Jeff Weachter described Stupar, "There will be times that we double-team him, but there are other times you can't because they'll blitz you on defense. We'll have to do everything we can to help out [sophomore quarterback] Kyle [Koncar]."

Unfortunately, Stupar has missed the past few games with an ankle injury. However, despite his absence, Stupar's team beat Central Dauphin 29-26 in the District 3/6 AAAA Quarter-Final this past Saturday, although his absence was felt on both sides of the ball. Next up they have a clash with Bishop McDevitt in the District 3/6 AAAA semi-final.

Despite being sidelined, Stupar is still a motivational force for his squad. As State College coach Al Wolski said of Stupar, "Ninety percent of high school football players go less than full speed. He's one of the 10 percent that's always going full speed. He does it all the time."

Stupar has strong ties to a variety of programs who were in pursuit of his services. His brother, Jon, is a junior tight end at Virginia, while his father, Steve, was a defensive lineman for Penn State in the late 1970s and his uncle, Jeff Hostetler, began his college career at PSU but transferred to West Virginia, where he emerged as a top pro prospect at quarterback. He later led the New York Giants to the Super Bowl.

In the end it was his PSU ties which won out. In fact when he talked about his commitment to Penn State he said, "It just came down to what I thought was right for me. It's just that it's 'Linebacker U.,' and there's that tradition."

Catch up with other Class of 2007 members as they wrap up their high school careers:

Nick Sukay
Jon Ditto
Andrew Dailey
Chris Colasanti


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