ARLINGTON, Texas — Plant High alumnus Judge Culpepper hasn’t yet made an enormous impact at Penn State.
But the 6-foot-4, 284-pound redshirt freshman defensive tackle has made plenty of behind-the-scenes strides for the Nittany Lions.
“It’s been a great experience,” Culpepper said Thursday during Cotton Bowl media day at AT&T Stadium. “I’ve gotten a lot of good reps. Just learning, being a part of the travel squad defense and just taking advantage of every rep I got. I feel like I’ve gotten better throughout the season.
“We’re going to use it as a stepping stone to keep moving forward, keep building.”
His No. 13 Nittany Lions are trying to do the same, after another 10-win season that ends Saturday against No. 15 Memphis.
Culpepper — a three-star recruit and two-time captain at Plant — has appeared in every game so far, mostly on special teams. But he feels as if has improved in his run fits and pass-rushing tools that will help him boost Penn State to another level during the rest of his career. He even had his first big highlight earlier this season with half a sack against Rutgers.
“I can just use that as motivation for next year to keep doing good things,” Culpepper said.