VIDEO: Military Appreciation Week - FB P.J. Byers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On many different levels, P.J. Byers' path to the Nittany Lion football program is incredible.

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A native of Harrison City, Pa., Byers graduated from Penn Trafford High School in 2003.  At the time he knew that he wanted to be in the military, so he enlisted in the Navy.  Byers was put into a delayed entry program and decided to attend Marietta College in southern Ohio.

With a keen desire for competing on the gridiron, Byers played football and ran track at Marietta College for one season before shifting his focus solely on the Navy.  He had aspirations of being a Navy SEAL, but Byers' eyesight did not pass the mandated requirements.  So, he joined the Navy to be a diver.

Byers was stationed at Peal Harbor in Hawaii for three years before moving to San Diego, where he served for just about two years.  As a diver, Byers has done demolition work with explosives, underwater repair work on submarines, conducted hyperbaric chamber training, searched for underwater mines and experienced rebreather diving, which is done with a breathing set that provides breathing gas containing oxygen and recycled exhaled gas and leaves behind no bubbles.

While in the waters off the coast of San Diego, Byers also helped train Navy dolphins.  Diving became his passion, but Byers also wanted to become a Naval officer.

Byers applied for a competitive officer program and earned a selection.  From there, he had the option to pick any school that he wanted, so he came to Penn State in 2010.  The Navy is partially paying for his education, and upon graduation, Byers will be commissioned as an officer.

While at Penn State, Byers is part of the Navy's ROTC program.  His proper name on campus is Officer Candidate Byers. 

He is also a senior fullback on the Nittany Lion football team set to play the Navy as an active member of the Navy on Saturday.  We talked with Byers earlier this week in honor of Military Appreciation Day.  Learn more about his incredible experiences in the Navy and more.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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