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Penn State Athletics’ Sibling Duos Through The Years

Liam Clifford, a three-star wide receiver and the younger brother of Penn State starting quarterback Sean Clifford, verbally committed to James Franklin’s program over offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Tennessee, among others on Sunday afternoon.

In theory, the Cliffords can be teammates with the Nittany Lions during the 2021 season. The quarterback would be set to be a redshirt senior in 2021, which is the year Little Bro is currently slated to join Penn State football.

The thought of Sean dropping a 50-yard bomb right into Liam’s breadbasket is awesome, and it got us thinking about other sibling duos in Penn State history.

Here’s a look back at just some of the sibling duos who have represented the Nittany Lions.

Zack & Christian Kuntz, Football

Penn State’s most recent set of siblings comes in the form of Christian and Zack Kuntz. Zack is a redshirt freshman tight end who’s currently stuck behind players like Pat Freiermuth and Nick Bowers on the depth chart, and he joined Penn State as a four-star recruit in 2018.

Zack followed in his older brother’s footsteps in joining the Nittany Lions. Christian Kuntz played in six games for Penn State during the 2011 season, and he made one reception for 17 yards. Zack, meanwhile, has also hauled in one pass for eight yards during his first few seasons as a Nittany Lion.

The Kuntz family hails from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour-and-a-half away from Happy Valley.

Zech & Josh McPhearson, Football

Next up on this list are the McPhearson brothers, who both played football at Penn State and were actually teammates during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Josh McPhearson was a reserve running back for Penn State who played mostly on special teams for James Franklin’s team. He transferred from Nassau Community College in upstate New York after a strong 2013 season, and he finished his Penn State career with 12 tackles and a forced fumble.

Meanwhile, Zech McPhearson was a back-up cornerback who finished his Penn State career with 16 tackles, two pass break-ups, and a fumble recovery in 24 appearances for the Nittany Lions. Zech transferred away from Happy Valley to join Texas Tech, which is where he’s currently playing now.

John & Tony Sacca, Football

John and Tony Sacca were a pair of brothers who both played quarterback for Penn State football.

John played quarterback for the team from 1991-1993, but he didn’t go on to do much else from a football standpoint after that. John was Kerry Collins’ back-up in 1993 when Penn State won its first Big Ten title, and he finished his college career with 1,498 passing yards and 14 touchdowns in 22 appearances for Penn State.

Meanwhile, his brother, Tony, played for the Nittany Lions from 1988-1991. He was drafted in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft as the No. 46 overall pick and he played in the NFL with the then-Phoenix Cardinals after passing for 5,869 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions in 45 games played for Penn State.

Joe & Jon Crispin, Men’s Basketball

Joe Crispin played for Penn State men’s basketball from 1997-2001, and he was a member of the team that brought the Nittany Lions to the NCAA tournament for the third time in 11 seasons alongside his brother Jon.

Joe was a key cog in Penn State’s 2001 NCAA tournament team. He averaged 19.5 points and 3.3 assists per game as he started in 33 games during that season, which ended with a defeat to Temple in the Sweet Sixteen.

Meanwhile, Jon decided to transfer to UCLA following his sophomore season and the end of his older brother’s career at Penn State. He averaged 7.2 points per game in the 2000-01 season, before leaving for UCLA where he made 32 appearances for the Bruins from 2002-04.

Adam & Jake Pilewicz, Men’s Hockey & Baseball

Adam and Jake Pilewicz are brothers who play for two different teams here in Happy Valley.

Adam has played both forward and defenseman for Penn State hockey during his career, which began in 2017. Adam was an Academic All-Big Ten selection in the 2018-19 season, and he’s scored two goals and two assists as a utility fill-in player for Guy Gadowsky’s team. He hasn’t made an appearance in Penn State’s first four games of the 2019-20 season.

Elsewhere, Jake Pilewicz was a pitcher for Penn State baseball from 2015-2018. He was credited with one win, 35 strikeouts, and an ERA of 6.71 over 57.2 innings of work throughout his Penn State career.

Erik & Oskar Autio, Men’s Hockey

Erik Autio was a left-shot defenseman for Guy Gadowsky’s hockey program from 2014-2018. He’s best known for scoring in double-overtime of Penn State’s Big Ten semifinal game against top-seeded Minnesota, and that goal was crucial in the Nittany Lions winning their first and, to date, only Big Ten title.

Autio made 104 appearances for the Nittany Lions, and he scored six goals and 41 assists during that time. His success in Hockey Valley prompted Gadowsky and co. to recruit his younger brother, Oskar, who’s currently the team’s back-up goaltender behind Peyton Jones. Oskar made his first-ever start in Penn State’s 4-0 defeat to Alaska-Fairbanks on Friday night.

Interestingly, the Nittany Lions discovered forward Aarne Talvitie, who’s currently one of seven NHL Draft picks on their roster, while watching Oskar play for the Espoo Blues’ U-20 team in Finland.

Are we missing any sibling duos who have played sports at Penn State? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Alexandra Ramos

Alexandra Ramos is a senior majoring in digital-print journalism with a minor in English. She's been writing for a long time now and has loved every second of it, and Penn State, as well as her love for her school, has been a huge factor in her life. Catch her probably eating a slice of pizza and probably writing herself into oblivion before senioritis catches up with her.


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