James Franklin had some good news for the Penn State defense this week. The Nittany Lions expect to have defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher back for Week 1 of the 2022 season.

“We expect him ready by Game 1,” Franklin told reporters this week, per Penn Live. “I think it’s a little bit different with a veteran player. I think sometimes with younger players that haven’t played a whole lot, you’re kind of anxious, almost rushing them to get back as soon as you possibly can. But with a player as experienced as he is – and P.J. is a hard-charging guy – we actually do the opposite and pull him back. But mentally, he’ll obviously be ready, and physically he’s pretty far along.

“I know yesterday I was talking to him, reading his body language, I know him pretty well, and I think he was a little frustrated, but that’s because he wants to be 100 percent yesterday. Like I told him, he doesn’t need to be 100 percent yesterday, but he’s trending in the right direction.”

Mustipher was limited to 5 games in the 2021 season, suffering a season-ending injury in the Iowa game. In those 5 games, Mustipher recorded 21 tackles (16 solo, 3 for loss) and a sack. Mustipher used the NCAA’s COVID-19 waiver to return to Penn State as a fifth-year senior for the 2022 season.

Penn State opens the 2022 season at Purdue on Thursday, Sept. 1.