Wiz Kid Comfortable at PSU

Four-star offensive line prospect Stefen Wisniewski feels no pressure from his impressive family ties to the Nittany Lion football program. "Pressure is going to come from within; trying to be the best I can be," the Nittany Lions' latest verbal commitment said. Learn more about him.

His father was a standout defensive lineman at Penn State who went on to a solid NFL career. His uncle was an All-American offensive lineman for the Nittany Lions who went on to an All-Pro NFL career. Yet now that he's committed to PSU, Stefen Wisniewski does not feel pressure to live up to the legacy.

“That doesn't really bother me,” the four-star offensive line prospect from Pittsburgh Central Catholic said. “Pressure is going to come from within; trying to be the best I can be. It's not that it comes from my dad or my uncle on anything else.”

The younger Wisniewski committed to Penn State Saturday night, picking the Nittany Lions over Boston College. He called assistant coach Tom Bradley to tell him the news and quickly received a call back from head coach Joe Paterno.

Wisniewski is the 14th player to pledge for PSU and the first to do so since tight end Andrew Szczerba (Aug. 13).

Wisniewski called the decision a “huge relief,” and said it came down to simply having a better feel for things at Penn State.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought Penn State was the place,” he said. “They are two very different schools. B.C. is a small, private school. Penn State is a big state school. I liked a lot of things from both places. It just ended up Penn State was the place.”

Stefen's father, Leo, lettered at Penn State from 1979-81. His uncle, Steve, lettered from 1985-88. How much of a factor were the family ties in the decision?

“That played a part in it,” Stefen said. “I don't know how big of a part, but it definitely played a part.”

Leo said he and his wife Cindy, who are both PSU grads, did not attempt to influence Stefen's decision. But now that he's made it, they can go back to being Penn State homers.

“We're thrilled to death,” he said. “We couldn't help but be a little biased.”

As for Stefen, he is still only 17 years old and won't turn 18 until March. He will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January then turn his attention to adding bulk to his 6-foot-3, 270-pound frame. He will enroll at Penn State in June.

“I'd definitely like to put on some good weight, more muscle,” he said. “I'm a little light for Division I college football right now. I'd like to do that and still stay athletic, still stay mobile.”

After playing tackle in high school, Wisniewski said the Penn State coaches project him as a guard.

“Tackles, they want them to be 6-5 and up with long arms,” he explained.

Speaking of which, the Nittany Lion offensive line has had its share of struggles in 2006. Asked if he had any concerns about the performance of the line this season or the coaching situation there, he said he did not.

“I'm comfortable with it,” Wisniewski said. “I think they just had a bad year.”


Fight On State Top Stories