NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Next in our series of draft sleepers for the 2012 NFL Draft is Penn State LB Nathan Stupar. Nathan spoke with NEPD’s Mike Loyko last week about his draft journey.
If the name Nathan Stupar sounds oddly familiar to you it should. Nathan is the younger brother of current NFL TE Jonathan Stupar, who actually played for the New England Patriots for a short time in 2008. Nathan is also the nephew of former Super Bowl winning QB Jeff Hostetler. Nathan is attempting to be the next one in his family to make it to the NFL and he has an excellent chance.
Not only does Nathan boast tremendous football genes, but he is also the next in a long line of LBs to come out of Penn State, or “Linebacker U” as it has came to be called. Unlike other linebackers to come out of Penn State, Nathan wasn’t an immediate star. His first three years at Penn State were spent on special teams, in the film room and becoming a better football player. It wasn’t until his redshirt junior year that he was given the opportunity to start at OLB. Stupar has a solid junior season posting 73 total tackles.
This year Stupar was slated to start at OLB again, but when MLB Michael Mauti tore his ACL it was Stupar who was asked to step in an make the calls on defense. “I knew I just always had to be ready, this year when Mauti went down, I was ready and stepped in and made all the calls” Stupar said. Stupar was able to fill the void admirably and finished the season with a career high 80 tackles. While he was a very valuable member of the defense, Stupar was an even more valuable part of the special teams. He excelled on kick offs, kick returns and punt returns his entire career and will likely find a home in the NFL as a core special teams player.
When I asked Nathan to tell me why Penn State produces so many quality linebackers Nathan said “they teach you how to be disciplined, they tell you that everyone needs to get to the ball and when you get there, make the tackle.” Stupar fits the mold of a typical Penn State LB. He is known as an intelligent, hard working LB whose motor is always running. He has prided himself on “becoming a more intelligent player”. “I was a backup at two different LB spots so I had to know how to play each position and make adjustments” said Stupar. Those qualities will likely make him attractive to NFL teams.
Like Kashif Moore , who we did a sleeper piece on over the weekend, Nathan is starting to garner more attention from NFL scouts now. He’s starting to rise and really helped himself at the combine. He posted a very solid forty yard dash time of 4.75 seconds. But, it was the agility drills where he really turned heads. Nathan was able to post the fastest 3 Cone drill of any LB at 6.84 seconds. He also posted top 5 times in the 60 yard shuttle, and looked fluid and agile in LB drills. Stupar was very happy with his performance calling it “an honor just to be invited, I was happy with my time, but know I can run faster”.
Stupar is another player to watch as the draft gets closer. At the very least he will be able to make a roster and contribute right away as a core special teams player. Like he did at Penn State, Stupar will likely work his way up the roster and find a way to make an impact on the defense.