With the 48th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Stefen Wisniewski, guard out of Penn State University. Attending Penn State was definitely a move that perpetuated the Wisniewski legacy. His father Leo Wisniewski attended Penn State and was a standout defensive lineman who went on to be drafted in the 1982 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. Leo played four seasons with the Colts as a nose tackle.
Wisniewski’s uncle Steve Wisniewski also attended Penn State where he was two-time first-team All-American guard. Steve was an eight time Pro Bowl guard during his 13 years with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders and also went on to enjoy a career as a Raiders’ offensive line coach until 2012.
Stefen Wisniewski’s college career was touted by Penn State as a career that would be nearly impossible to top. He was a three-time Academic All-American from 2008-2010, a first by a Penn State student-athlete. He also earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average in two semesters there and was also named First Team All-Big Ten in both 2009 and 2010.
The Pittsburgh native was the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a game since Joe Lorio had done so in 1999. In 2008, Wisniewski started in 12 games, but once he switched back to right guard, he started 25 of 26 games the following year. Off the field, he was described as one of Penn State’s most accomplished and community service oriented student-athletes. During 2009, he made a mission trip to the Dominican Republic during spring break as well as the summer. He also spent 2009-2010 as a student teacher in a tenth grade English class at State College Area High School, which fit right in with his major of secondary education.
Wisniewski was also active 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 he tutored local high school students. Are you starting to reevaluate your extracurricular activities because I am! Not surprisingly, he was the subject of a feature story in the December 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated Kids. The story detailed all of his efforts in tutoring and community service.
Once signed by Oakland, Wisniewski stated that he wanted to make his own legacy and declined wearing his uncle’s number 76, which was available at the time. It has since been assigned to guard Lucas Nix and Wisniewski opted for 61, his number throughout college.
Hue Jackson named him the Raiders’ starting left guard at the beginning of the 2011 season, the position that his uncle had played. The 2011 season opener saw Wisniewski and the offensive line clearing the way for 190 rushing yards in the victory over the Denver Broncos. Week 3 of that season saw him being named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week after the Raiders’ offensive line worked together to clear the way for a total of 234 rushing yards while allowing only one sack against the New York Jets.
That following January saw the rookie being named to the Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie team because of his outstanding rookie season as left guard. In 2012, Samson Satele left for the Indianapolis Colts and Wisniewski was shifted to center. He has started 45 games over the course of his three seasons in the NFL.
When Wisniewski isn’t on the field playing hard for the Raiders, he is spending a lot of time in the surrounding community, just as he did when he attended Penn State. Currently, he has volunteered with Toys For Tots, the G-Fit Gatorade Clinic, High School Player Development, and has also paid visits to the Oakland Children’s Hospital. It’s refreshing to see that even his alma mater recognized his stellar achievements both on and off the field. That has got to be one of the most glowing profiles that I have ever read when researching a player. Definitely great to have such a warm player in the silver and black!