The bloodlines are very visible when it comes to Penn State center-guard Stefen Wisniewski. His father was a second-round draft choice and played three seasons as a defensive lineman. His uncle played 13 seasons in the league; he was also a second-round pick.
There’s no question that Stefen will follow in the footsteps of his pops Leo and Uncle Steve. As he wrapped up his college career at Penn State, scouts were saying there have been very few blockers come out of the college ranks as technically advanced in the fundamentals of blocking as Wisniewski.
That would indicate a long NFL career, and one that will start very quickly for the Pittsburgh native.
Family is a big part of the Stefen Wisniewski story.
Stefen David Wisniweski
Born: March 22, 1989 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Family: parents are Leo and Cindy Wisniewski. Leo played defensive line at Penn State and was a second-round selection of the Baltimore Colts in the 1982 NFL Draft. He played 36 games over three seasons for the Colts in Baltimore and Indianapolis. Leo Wisniewski is currently the defensive line coach at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA. He has one younger sister, Sarah.
Uncle Steve Wisniewski also played at Penn State and then spent 13 years in the NFL, playing guard in 206 games for the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, where he is now an assistant coach. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler and during his prime was considered one of the best and one of the nastiest players in the league.
“I think it’s funny because of the way he explains it,” Stefen Wisniewski said of his uncle. “He says that it was a bad rap that it was all bogus and they’re all misunderstandings. So I just laugh about it.
“One thing he was known for was finishing blocks and being a nasty guy, and that’s what I always try to do,” added Wisniewski. “I like to finish my blocks, and I’m hearing positive feedback about the way I hustle, so that’s one way I think we’re similar.”
Here is a video feature done at Penn State about the Wisniewski family.
BODY OF WORK
- Height β 6-feet, 3ΒΌ inches.
- Weight β 313 pounds.
- Arms β 33 inches.
- Hands β 10 3/8 inches.
- 40-yard dash β 5.29 seconds.
- 20-yard dash β 3.0 seconds.
- 10-yard dash β 1.8 seconds.
- Bench press β 30 repetitions at 225 pounds.
- Vertical jump β 28Β½ inches.
- Broad jump β 8-feet, 4 inches.
Wisniewski graduated from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Class of ’07. Located in the Oakland section of the city, Central Catholic is an all-boys school of approximately 900. It’s most famous graduates in the world of sports are Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino and current NFL QB Marc Bulger.
While at Central, he was also part of the wrestling program; his father was the Pennsylvania state champion as a heavyweight in his senior season at Fox Chapel High School. Wisniewski was also named to the National Honor Society.
FOOTBALL (Terry Trotten head coach)
2006 β First team all-state offensive lineman who was named to the U.S. Army All-America game.
2005 β First team all-state selection along the offensive line.
2004 β Earned his first starting assignment for the Vikings, who won a state AAAA title.
Wisniewski received offers from Penn State, Boston College and North Carolina. Other schools that had an interest were Michigan, Northwestern Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. He visited Penn State, Boston College and North Carolina, signing early with the Nittany Lions.
He graduated in December 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College. Wisniewski finished his college career with 3.91 grade-point average.
During his time at Penn State, he earned numerous academic honors, including being named a National Football Foundation scholar-athlete. He was second in the voting for the William V. Campbell Trophy, the academic Heisman trophy. He was also three times an Academic All-America.
- 2010 β (Team co-captain) started all 13 games at right guard, moving back to the position after spending the previous season at center. He earned All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and was named first-team All-Big 10 Conference. (7-6 record/Outback Bowl.)
- 2009 β Started all 13 games at center, making 905 snaps and earning first-team All-Big 10 Conference honors. (11-2 record/Capital One Bowl.)
- 2008 β Played in all 13 games, started 12 games at guard, 11 of those at right guard. He was on the field for 748 plays. He was named second-team All-Big 10 Conference. (11-2 record/Rose Bowl).
- 2007 β Played in eight games as a true freshman, including one start at right guard. That made him the first Penn State offensive lineman to start a game in his freshman season since 1999. In all, he was on the field for 230 snaps. (9-7 record/Alamo Bowl.)
No known problems in his four years with the Nittany Lions, as he played in all but five of 52 possible games. Those misses all came in his rookie season.
EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL
Strengths β The NFL bloodlines that flow through Wisniewski make him an advanced prospect on all the mental aspects of the game. He’s as sound fundamentally as any lineman coming out of the college ranks in the last decade. He has very quick feet and a good burst out of his stance, and he can play effectively at the second level. Playing most of his career at sub-300 pounds, he’s very good at leverage against the bigger defensive tackles he faced. As a technician he’s advanced on his hand placement and footwork.
Weaknesses β Physically, he’s probably as big as he’ll get and that could limit him to playing center. He’s limited as an athlete and is a bit of an overachiever. Because of that, he sometimes plays over the line of aggression and runs afoul of the officials. He does not have elite speed, quickness or strength. Sometimes tends to reach too much and thus gets caught off-balance.
Analysis β There isn’t an offensive line coach in the NFL that wouldn’t like having Wisniewski as part of their group. His understanding of offense, blocking, leverage and angles is something that takes players years to understand. He will be a contributor and that could begin with his rookie season.
WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY
From an AFC scout β “He’s not as good as his uncle, but pretty darn close. Has just enough nasty to him to make up for some of his physical deficiency. He’ll play a long time in the league, but he’ll likely never be great.”
From an NFC Scout β “We really like him for his brains and football intelligence. He could be a solid starter at either guard or center. He’s not on the outstanding scale in any physical category, but he’s got the head and the heart. Wish he was bigger and he may be able to add weight.”
WHAT HE HAS TO SAY
On the influence of his father and uncle on his career: “My dad’s been my coach in the weight room in technique stuff since high school and my uncle’s been giving me pointers for as long as I can remember. And they’ve got a lot of friends with NFL credentials that have been coaching me up, so I’ve had the best coaching possible. I feel pretty lucky. The Lord’s really blessed me with a lot of natural instincts. It really has little to do with me.”
Early indications of his goals: “My mom actually saved the notes I wrote from kindergarten when I was like 5 years old. The teacher had you write what you wanted to be when you grow up. I wrote I wanted to be a professional football player. ”
What he learned from his uncle Steve: “He taught me a lot about what it takes to be a pro football player, as far as the strength and conditioning and the technique aspects of the game. He was tremendous in building me into the football player that I am.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY
Uncle Steve Wisniewski: “His work ethic has always been second to known. I was up there for the Michigan State game and after the game, we had a nice dinner, went back to the hotel and he went to watch the game film. He was in there until one in the morning, by himself.”
DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS
Without a doubt, Stefen Wisniewski has all the characteristic of the type of player the Chiefs are looking for β intelligent, dedicated to football, durable, versatile. It’s hard to find any part of Wisniewski’s game that doesn’t fit the Pioli/Haley mold. Center will be Wisniewski’s NFL position and the Chiefs have a need at that spot.