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Penn State alums playing on 21 NFL teams; 10 former Nittany Lions are on NFL coaching staffs
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It would be nearly impossible to try and top the Penn State student-athlete experience Stefen Wisniewski has assembled over the past three years. He has maximized his opportunities on the field, in the classroom and in serving others. The first Nittany Lion true freshman offensive lineman to start a game since center Joe Iorio in 1999, Wisniewski is a physical, productive and instinctive offensive lineman, who is gaining consideration as among the nation's best in the trenches. A starter in 12 games at guard in 2008, he returned to right guard this spring after earning first-team All-Big Ten honors at center last year. Like his transition into collegiate academics and athletics, Wisniewski has quickly adapted to the moves. A starter in 25 of the last 26 games, the highly-skilled, intelligent and physical student-athlete is poised to lead an O-Line unit that will have two new starters and returnees in new positions. Selected a 2010 first-team preseason All-American by Athlon, Lindy's, Sporting News and Phil Steele's College Football Previews, Wisniewski was a 2009 third-team All-America honoree by Collegefootballnews.com. Named to the preliminary Watch List for the 41st Rotary Lombardi Award, the talented and tenacious player has worked hard to improve his skills and strength throughout his career. He consistently grades out above 90 percent. The highly-motivated Wisniewski is among Penn State's most accomplished and community service-oriented student-athletes. He has made mission trips to the Dominican Republic during spring break this past March and in the summer of 2009. A secondary education major in the Schreyer Honors College, Wisniewski spent 2009-10 student teaching 10th-grade English at State College Area HS. Every weekday last fall and during spring practice, he was at school early in the morning and didn't leave until 30 minutes before position meetings began in the Lasch Football Building. Wisniewski was selected a 2009 first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American® as he added to his 2008 second-team honor. Owner of a superlative 3.92 grade-point average, the squad's highest mark, through the spring semester, Wisniewski will have an opportunity in 2010 to become Penn State's first three-time Academic All-American®. He should be a strong candidate for the Campbell Trophy, the academic Heisman, presented by the National Football Foundation. Penn State's nominee for the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, he has compiled a perfect 4.0 GPA the last three semesters. Wisniewski has participated in the Student-Athlete Advisory Board's Autism Awareness reading program, THON Make-A-Wish program, Pennsylvania Special Olympics State Summer Games, Habitat for Humanity, Athletic Directors Leadership Institute, Athletes In Action, The Second Mile and tutored local high school students among his vast array of community service activities. Wisniewski was the subject of a feature story in the December 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated Kids, as the writer spent part of a typical day that semester with the standout student-athlete. A U.S. Army All-American at Central Catholic HS in Pittsburgh, Wisniewski was on the field for 905 snaps last year, second-highest among all returnees. Wisniewski is another Nittany Lion with strong family ties to the program. His father, Leo, was a standout for the Lions, lettering from 1979-81, and playing four years with the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts. An uncle, Steve Wisniewski, was a two-time first-team All-America guard during his outstanding Penn State career (1985-88) and was selected All-Pro eight times during his 13-year career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. One of 11 returning Nittany Lions from Western Pennsylvania, Wisniewski is on schedule to earn his degree in secondary education in December.
2009 Junior Season
Wisniewski was shifted from guard to center prior to spring practice and emerged as one of the nation's top offensive linemen. Starting every game, he was selected first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media and was named a third-team All-American by Collegefootballnews.com. Wisniewski and senior tackle Dennis Landolt anchored a line that had four different starting lineups in the first six games, but meshed well in the second half of the season. Wisniewski also was selected a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, joining teammates Josh Hull and Andrew Pitz on the first-team. Wisniewski added to his 2008 second-team honor. He saw action on 905 snaps, the third-highest total on the team, led by 86 in each of the wins over Minnesota and LSU. Wisniewski and the O-Line played a huge role in Penn State ranking No. 2 in the Big Ten in total offense at 406.9 ypg. The Nittany Lions were the only Big Ten team ranked in the top five of the conference's four primary offensive statistical categories in 2009: total (406.9 ypg), scoring (28.8 ppg), rushing (169.8 ypg) and passing offense (237.2 ypg). Behind the protection of Wisniewski and his linemates, Daryll Clark finished No. 2 in the Big Ten in passing efficiency, threw a school season-record 24 touchdown passes and broke the season total offense mark. Penn State was third in the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed and eclipsed 500 yards of total offense on four occasions, including 512 in the regular-season finale at Michigan State.
2008 Sophomore Season
Wisniewski started 12 games at guard, playing an instrumental role in Penn State ranking in the Top 20 nationally in rushing (17th, 205.8 ypg), total offense (14th, 448.9 ypg) and scoring offense (11th, 38.9 ppg) in 2008. Eleven of his starts were at right guard. The Nittany Lions led the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, were second in rushing and third in passing offense (243.1 ypg). Wisniewski earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in helping pave the way for Evan Royster to become Penn State's fourth consecutive 1,000-yard rusher (three different players). He also was key in helping Penn State lead the Big Ten and rank No. 4 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed last season with 13. Wisniewski helped the Lions gain more than 400 yards 10 times, including 410 against Southern California, the nation's No. 1-ranked defense, in the 2009 Rose Bowl, with four games above 500 yards. Penn State posted seven games with more than 200 rushing yards, led by 334 against Coastal Carolina. The Nittany Lions ran behind the line to tally seven rushing touchdowns in the season-opener, the most since scoring seven against Michigan State in 2002. At Syracuse, the O-line led the charge as Penn State delivered 393 yards in the first half, averaging 8.0 yards per play en route to the 55-13 win. The durable Wisniewski was on the field for 748 plays, led by 74 at Syracuse and 73 against Illinois. Wisniewski was selected a 2008 second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, one of a program-record five Nittany Lions so honored in 2008. He also earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades and delivered a perfect 4.00 GPA during the 2009 spring semester.
2007 Freshman Season
Wisniewski played in eight games and was joined by linebacker Chris Colasanti as the only true freshmen to earn time on the field. He was named to The Sporting News Freshman All-Big Ten team. Wisniewski played in each of the last seven games, making his collegiate debut against Buffalo. One month later, he made his first career start in the 36-31 win at Indiana, getting the nod at right guard. He became the first Penn State true freshman offensive lineman to start since center Joe Iorio in 1999. Wisniewski helped the Nittany Lions rush for 192 yards and pass for 197 in the important road win over Indiana. He saw action on 230 snaps, led by 42 in the Alamo Bowl win over Texas A&M, as he helped the Lions run for a season-high 270 yards. He compiled a perfect 4.0 grade-point average during the 2007 fall semester.
A standout player for Coach Terry Trotten at Central Catholic HS, Wisniewski was selected a U.S. Army All American his senior season. He was a two-time first-team all-state honoree. He was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 team and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25, as well as earning All-Western Pennsylvania honors. He was rated the No. 5 overall prep player in Pennsylvania by Rivals.com, as well as the No. 8 guard in the nation. He also was a member of the wrestling team. Wisniewski was selected to the National Honor Society.
Full name is Stefen David Wisniewski. He is the son of Leo and Cindy Wisniewski and has one sister, Sarah. His father was a standout defensive lineman for the Lions, lettering from 1979-81 and serving as a tri-captain in 1981. He was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft and played four seasons with Baltimore/Indianapolis. An uncle, Steve Wisniewski, was a two-time first-team All-America guard during his Penn State career (1985-88) and was selected All-Pro eight times in his 13 years with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. In his free time, Stefen enjoys reading and working out. He is interested in pursuing a career in teaching and coaching or in the ministry. Wisniewski is one of the squad's premier students, compiling a perfect 4.0 grade-point average during the 2009 spring and 2007 fall semesters in the Schreyer Honors College. He was selected a 2008 second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American® and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. He also is active in community service activities. Born March 22, 1989 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
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