P.J. Byers followed a remarkable path en route to gaining a spot on the Penn State squad as a walk-on in 2010. An active duty member of the United States Navy's officer program, Byers went 18 years between introductions with the late Joe Paterno. In 1992, his father, Patrick Sr., interned under Paterno at the annual Big 33 Classic. Paterno signed a program for P.J., who was seven years old, with the inscription, "I'll be waiting." A 2003 graduate of Penn Trafford High School, Byers enlisted in the Navy, but was put on delayed entry and enrolled at Marietta College. At Marietta, he played football and was a member of the track and field team in 2003-04 before heading to boot camp, where he hoped to launch his career as a Navy SEAL. But, Byers' eyesight did not meet the necessary requirements and he shifted his career to becoming a Navy dive specialist. After being stationed in Connecticut and Florida, Byers was assigned to the Pearl Harbor Naval Station, where he learned to do underwater submarine repairs and demolition of explosives, during his three years in Hawaii. He then spent two years in San Diego, where he continued his diving education, including training dolphins to find mines. During his time at Pearl Harbor and in San Diego, Byers was able to continue his dream of playing football in military-sponsored leagues. When Byers was selected for the Navy's officer program, he was able to choose any college or university he wished to attend, in order to earn a degree, which is a requirement for the officer program. Having attended games in Beaver Stadium in his youth, becoming a Nittany Lion was his first choice. Once Byers graduates, if pro football does not work out, he aspires to become a Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) officer, where he would be on the frontline, disarming explosive devices and disposing of them. Byers made his Penn State debut last year with a carry against Eastern Michigan. He is on schedule to graduate in May, owned a grade-point average above 3.0 following the spring semester and is a potential Academic All-Big Ten candidate. Byers is among 16 returning Nittany Lions from Western Pennsylvania.
2011 Junior Season
Byers made his Nittany Lion debut in the non-conference game against Eastern Michigan and had one carry for one yard.
2010 Sophomore Season
Redshirt season. Byers enrolled at Penn State and earned a spot on the team as a walk-on.
Byers enlisted in the United States Navy, but was put on delayed entry and enrolled at Marietta College in Ohio. At Marietta, he played football and was a member of the track and field team in 2003-04 before heading to boot camp.
Byers played linebacker, tight end and punted for Coach Art Tragesser at Penn Trafford HS, graduating in 2003. In addition to football, Byers ran the high hurdles and threw the javelin on the track and field team and played one year of baseball.
Full name is Patrick Christopher Byers Jr. He is the son of Patrick Byers Sr. and Ella McGhee and has two younger siblings, a brother, Jacob, and a sister, Medina. His father graduated from Penn State Harrisburg. In his spare time, Byers enjoys deep sea diving, snowboarding, camping, surfing, rock climbing, swimming, photography and listening to music. Byers is a kinesiology major, owning a 3.07 grade-point average following the spring semester, and is a potential Academic All-Big Ten candidate. He is contemplating becoming an explosive ordinance disposal officer, as well as a strength and conditioning coach or a personal trainer. Born February 23, 1985 in Monroeville, Pa.