Despite impressively beating Eastern Michigan 34-6 Saturday, Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions suffered a significant loss over the weekend with redshirt junior outside linebacker Michael Mauti tearing the ACL in his left knee.
Mauti, 6-2, and 242 pounds, was the team's leading tackler and some believe had ascended this season to be the Nittany Lions' best all-around player.
Mauti's season will end with 21 tackles; still tied for the team lead in stops despite his injury occurring in the first quarter. He was viewed as Penn State's most reliable and versatile linebacker. Stout, strong and surprisingly speedy in coverage, Mauti had already established himself as one of the better young linebacker prospects for the NFL. Though he played outside for Penn State, his size and instincts appeared to make him a logical candidate to move inside at the pro level. Mauti was all over the field for Penn State a few weeks ago in the showdown with Alabama, racking up a career high 13 tackles. A week ago he posted six tackles, including a career high three tackles for loss and an interception that led to Penn State's winning drive in the win over Temple.
Mauti, according to Penn State Director of Athletic Medicine Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, is expected to undergo surgery in the next two weeks. His rehabilitation is expected to take a minimum of nine months.
This is the second time Mauti has torn an ACL. He tore the ligament in his right knee during fall camp in 2009 and missed the entire season.
Mauti entered the week as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 9 inside linebacker prospect for the class of 2013.