Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin, one of the many players recruited from the vaunted DMV region, was a bit of a surprise for many who follow the blue and white. He was a three-star commit in the class of 2006, joining the class after the 2005 team showed that PSU had a case to be back in the national conversation; an undersized DE, he had tremendous speed and upside, one of Larry Johnson Sr’s many recruits of the region and on the line.
Maybin redshirted his first season in Happy Valley, but hit 2007 like a storm, being named to the Sporting News freshman all-Big Ten team. The hype surrounding Maybin’s pass-rushing talent was palpable headed into 2008, when most picked PSU as a middling Big Ten squad, but Maybin being named to preseason watch lists.
That 2008 Penn State squad, though, outperformed most expectations, coming home with the Big Ten title amidst a rejuvenated offense and a stifling defense, led statistically by Maybin. A finalist for the Bednarik and Hendricks awards, Maybin’s redshirt sophomore campaign saw him named a consensus All-American and to the All-Big Ten first team.
In order to capitalize on his high athletic stock, Maybin forewent his final season of eligibility at Penn State, entering the draft following the team’s resurgent 2008 season. He was drafted in the first round, eleventh overall, by the Buffalo Bills; Maybin transitioned to linebacker with the Bills, where he stayed until 2011. Sometimes referred to as a draft bust, he was signed by the Jets in 2011, and that stint, though shorter than with the Bills, proved more prolific, with Maybin leading the team in sacks in 2011. The following season, though, he was released late by NY; his last stop in the NFL was with the Bengals, in the 2013 preseason.
In the years since his retirement from football, Maybin has used his platform to become a respected artist and activist in his hometown of Baltimore; a fairly recent instance of Maybin going viral may well be from 2018, when Maybin spoke to his elementary school art students about their school’s lack of heat, and national attention was drawn to an issue too-common in many school districts.