Michael Mauti probably would have become one of the great Penn State linebackers, in the pantheon of that position at LBU, anyway. A legacy whose dad, Rich, played in Happy Valley and whose brother, Patrick, was a wideout for the Nittany Lions, Mauti committed on the spot to Joe Paterno (to his father’s chagrin) during an on-campus visit, a four star linebacker and the number one player in the state of Louisiana in the 2008 recruiting class.
He probably would have been a great player anyway, but Mauti solidified his status in the Penn State history books when this happened:
After the NCAA sanctions were imposed in the summer of 2012, Mauti was a galvanizing force on the sidelines and field, keeping the bulk of the Penn State squad together and giving the PSU community hope and faith in the future.
He parlayed that into a successful 2012 senior season, despite being injured to end his season in an ugly chop block against Indiana, and his teammates recognized his impact by wearing his number on their helmets to end their season—and fellow linebacker Gerald Hodges wore his number in that glorious season-ender against Wisconsin.
Mauti was drafted in 2013 by the Vikings, taken in the 7th round (213th overall) to play with Hodges. After two seasons of special teams and mop up duty, he left for his hometown New Orleans Saints, where he’s made much more of an immediate impact—he played 16 games last year, starting two, and logged more tackles than his two years in Minnesota combined.
And, in true Mauti fashion, he’s giving back to the community that he grew up in.