James Franklin expects a big piece of the defense to be ready for season opener

·2 min read

The expectations remain high for the Penn State defense in 2022, and the return of a healthy PJ Mustipher is a big part of that equation up front on the defensive line. According to head coach James Franklin, Mustipher is on track to be ready to play in Penn State’s season opener at Purdue.

Franklin confirmed as much during a midweek summer media session with reporters.

The return of Mustipher was always to be expected, but fRanklin’s suggestion the staff is preparing for him to be available in Week 1 is just another strong show of positivity regarding Mustipher’s outlook for the new season.

Mustipher is coming back from a left knee injury he suffered in a road game at Iowa last season. The injury knocked Mustipher out for the remainder of the 2021 season after undergoing surgery. Mustipher was not used in spring practices but has continued to be a leader of the team to continue serving as a team captain.

Franklin did previously suggest Mustipher was on a good track in his recovery, and it seems nothing has changed on that front in a negative way. If Mustipher truly is ready for the season opener, that would be a big lift for what should be a solid defensive unit overall in 2022 under new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

Penn State opens the 2022 season on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Purdue. The game will air on FOX.

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