If P.J. Mustipher decides to make a school other than Tennessee his football future, it won’t be from a lack of giving the Volunteers a chance.
The blue-chip defensive tackle out of Maryland spent entire weekend in Knoxville just prior to the Easter holiday.
“Incredible visit,” Mustipher told InsideTennessee. “I really don’t got much to say about it because it was just…it was a great visit.
“I don’t know what’s different but the people up here are just great people. They set up a whole cookout for just me and my family (Friday) night. A lot of the guys came and the whole coaching staff was up there with food and we really just talked and just kicked back and just relaxed and enjoyed everybody and just vibed. So it was great.”
The Scout No. 2-ranked defensive tackle in the East and No. 7 in the nation hears from Tennessee coach Butch Jones, new defensive line coach Brady Hoke and graduate assistant Nathan Ollie regarding life in orange and white.
“I’ve got a great relationship with this coaching staff,” Mustipher said.
“Tennessee is recruiting me pretty hard. Really all those — Maryland, Penn State, Tennessee — they all are recruiting me pretty hard.”
Hoke’s family ties to the Mustipher crew give Tennessee something of an edge over a few of its competitors for the 2018 class target.
“I actually met (Hoke) when my brother was going through the recruiting trail, but I was young then so I didn’t really take in what he was saying,” said the Scout four-star prospect, whose brother Sam Mustipher is a senior offensive lineman for Notre Dame. “I spent a lot of time with (Hoke) this weekend, and he really talked to me and told me what the future is like. I definitely respect that. He’s a great guy.”
Unlike many other heralded college football prospects, the McDonogh (Md.) School junior doesn’t believe in coming out with a top 15, top 10, etc. But he has an idea who some of the schools are that have caught his eye, including the Orange & White.
“Many people don’t know but Tennessee is going to be in the top,” Mustipher said. “Tennessee, I definitely really like what Tennessee is doing, I love the coaching staff, love the players — the players are what got me to really enjoy my time but not saying the coaching staff didn’t, I love them too. But just chilling with the players (Friday) night was great.
“I don’t have lists, I don’t do lists. The schools I’ve been visiting this spring are the schools I’m focusing on.”
Maryland, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and other schools that got recent visits are under consideration. The 6-foot-5, 282-pounder doesn’t have a target date set for a declaration.
“End of…you know what, now I don’t even know,” Mustipher said. “I might have to take officials, yeah, I might have to now that I’m thinking about it. But that’s something I’ve got to sit down with my family and talk about.
“I really don’t know if I’m going to take officials because I haven’t sat down with my parents, but if I do take officials, (Tennessee) will be one place definitely. I can tell you that.”
Mustipher will get a chance to reunite with his brother next weekend with a trip to South Bend to hear Notre Dame’s sales pitch. He says that will be his final visit of the spring.
It’s not a guarantee that the Owings Mills, Maryland, defender will make a return trip to Knoxville, but it’s certainly under consideration.
“I really enjoyed my time and my family did, so we’ll go back home and talk and we’ll discuss it. But, yeah, I’ll probably take an official (visit) back here. Nothing is set in stone, but I really definitely enjoyed my time,” he said.