Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BY LOU SOMOGYI L ife as a student-athlete at Notre Dame is hardly a snap, but new starting center Sam Mustipher has made it seem that way — literally and figuratively. Entering his junior season in 2016, Mustipher is one of two scholarship players on the team enrolled in the ultra-challenging College of Engineering (junior safety Drue Tranquill is the other). At Our Lady of Good Counsel High in Olney, Md., Mustipher achieved a 4.6 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale by taking weighted courses. His plan at Notre Dame was to go into aerospace or civil engineering, but he opted for computer science engineering instead because his ambition is to enter the cyber security field. Such an area of study presents some huge time constraints, but Mustipher is not one to back away from it. "The time management skills and the academic support staff that we have here is the best that I can ask for," he said. "The coaches understand the schedule I have and it all meshes together pretty well." Before he gets into cyber security, he's going to be counted on to provide another form of protection to the Notre Dame offense as the starting center for at least the next two years, and possibly three, just like predecessor Nick Martin. Like Martin, Mustipher had zero experience as a center prior to enrolling at Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Mustipher 's defensive line coach at Good Counsel, Kevin McFadden, considered him the prototype three- technique tackle on the other side of the ball. "The defensive side of the ball forces you to twitch and react faster, and lets you focus on burst, leverage and foot placement, which are all strengths of his," said McFadden, who has helped numerous players of his reach the NFL, of Mustipher. "He plays with his hands well. He sees his keys well … he's just faster. THE CENTER PIECE Sam Mustipher succeeds two- time captain Nick Martin after a strong spring

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