Michael Mauti was all over the field making plays during the initial three games of the 2011 season and was on his way to, at a minimum, adding his name to the list of "Linebacker U." standouts who have earned All-Big Ten accolades. The preseason first-team all-conference selection, though, saw his junior season abruptly end in the first quarter against Eastern Michigan with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Mauti did not play the rest of last season, but he continued his leadership role at practice and on the sideline during games, maintaining a presence that saw him included on the team's 70-man roster for away games. He was tireless during his rehabilitation and when winter strength and conditioning sessions began, Mauti again was at the forefront with his leadership by example and warrior mentality. The talented, instinctive and hard-hitting Mauti participated in selected individual drills during spring drills and is expected to be 100 percent in time for the season.
A probable Butkus Award and post-season honors candidate, he is a fierce competitor, one of the squad's hardest workers and a sure tackler. Mauti possesses tremendous linebacking acumen and the athleticism and speed to chase down a ball carrier or blanket a running back or tight end in pass coverage. The intense and focused fifth-year senior started the first four games last season and has 11 career starts. He recorded 21 tackles, with 3.0 tackles for loss, one interception and three pass breakups in three-plus games in 2011 prior to his injury. In the battle with No. 2 Alabama, Mauti led the team with a career-high 13 tackles and had two pass breakups. His ability to impact a game was highlighted by his efforts in the road matchup at Temple, recording six solo tackles, including a career-tying three for a loss, and making a diving fourth-quarter interception to set up Penn State's final touchdown drive. The former Mandeville High School All-American graduated in December 2011 and is on schedule to earn a second degree, in labor and employment relations, in December. Mauti and his older brother, Patrick (2005-09) have combined with their father, Rich, to join the long line of fathers-son tandems to play at Penn State over the past 50 years.
Mauti was selected a first-team All-American by ESPN and Phil Steele's College Football, giving Penn State 11 first-team All-Americans since 2005. The Nittany Lions' 97th first-team All-American, Mauti was a semifinalist for the 2012 Butkus Award and was the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors by the coaches, media, BTN.com and ESPN.com.
A team co-captain, Mauti was the only Big Ten player ranked in the top 10 in the conference in tackles (6th, 96), interceptions (7th, 3) and forced fumbles (3rd, 3). He also led the Big Ten in interception return yards (125). Mauti had 4.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks (minus-25), three interceptions, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two pass break-ups. The former Mandeville High School All-American started the initial 11 games this season, suffering a knee injury in the first quarter vs. Indiana on Nov. 17 that ended his season. Mauti was selected the Nittany Lions' 2012 Outstanding Senior Player.
Mauti started the first four games of the season and was making plays all over the field. But, his season abruptly ended in the first quarter of the Eastern Michigan game when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Mauti recorded 21 tackles, with 3.0 tackles for loss, one interception and three pass breakups in three-plus games. In the meeting with No. 2 Alabama, Mauti led the team with a career-high 13 tackles and had two pass breakups. He was superb in helping the Nittany Lions hold Temple to 10 points, recording six tackles (all solos), including a career-tying three for a loss (minus-eight). In the fourth quarter, he made a diving interception, the first of his career, to set up Penn State's game-winning touchdown drive at Lincoln Financial Field. Mauti saw action on 182 snaps, topped by 76 against Alabama.
Returning from a serious knee injury, Mauti was highly-productive while battling through a couple of nagging injuries. He finished fifth on the team with 67 tackles. Playing in 11 games, with seven starts, he recorded 5.5 tackles for loss (minus-18), with two sacks and a pass breakup. Mauti rewrote his career-high in tackles in three consecutive games during the season. He was selected Big Ten Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Week against Northwestern, after making a career-high 11 tackles and a career-best 3.0 TFL in the historic comeback win. In his first game since the 2009 Rose Bowl due to a serious knee injury, Mauti made five tackles against Youngstown State. He recorded six hits at No. 1 Alabama in his first career start. Mauti tied his then-career-high with seven tackles in the 24-0 win over Kent State. He recorded seven tackles in the win over Temple, with five hits in the second half, helping the Nittany Lions hold the Owls to 71 yards and no points in the final two quarters. His seven tackles tied for the team-high. He made six tackles, including four solos, in the Big Ten-opener at Iowa and recorded his first career sack, taking down quarterback Ricky Stanzi for a five-yard loss. Mauti did not see action in the Big Ten home-opener with Illinois due to a sprained ankle. He broke his career-high in tackles at Minnesota, leading the linebacking corps with eight stops, including five solos and 0.5 TFL for a loss of two yards. Mauti rewrote his career-best in hits for the second consecutive week, totaling a team-high 10 in the primetime win over Michigan. For the third straight game, Mauti broke his career-high in tackles, recording 11 against Northwestern to share Big Ten Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors. He made a career-best three tackles for minus-eight yards in helping Penn State rally from a 21-0 deficit to post a 35-21 decision for Joe Paterno's 400th win. Mauti made one tackle at Ohio State, but left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, which sidelined him against Indiana. In limited action against No. 10 Michigan State, he recorded two tackles. Mauti compiled four stops against Florida in the Outback Bowl, with 0.5 tackles for loss. He saw action on 476 snaps, topped by 59 against Florida and 58 in the wins over Minnesota and Northwestern.
Mauti tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during an August practice, sidelining him for the season. He took a medical redshirt season.
Mauti proved to be an immediate asset for the defense and special teams after graduating from high school early and enrolling in the University in January 2008. One of three true freshmen to play in every game, he made 26 tackles, with one minus-yardage stop and a fumble hit. He made a season-high seven tackles against Michigan, including one for a two-yard loss. He delivered one of the biggest hits of the season when he leveled Wolverine Sam McGuffie on a kickoff return, forcing a fumble. The Wolverines recovered the pigskin, but Mauti's hit charged the Nittany Lion defense and faithful in erasing a 10-0 deficit to win, 46-17. Mauti also made three stops each in the wins over Indiana and Michigan State and had two hits in four other games. Mauti saw action on 249 snaps, led by 33 against the Wolverines and 30 against Southern California in the Rose Bowl. He made four tackles in the 2009 Blue-White game and was the recipient of the Jim O'Hora Award, presented to the defense's most improved player during spring practice.
A hard-hitting linebacker for Coach Guy LeCompte at Mandeville HS, Mauti was selected to the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He finished his senior season with 121 tackles, 24 for loss, with four sacks. He also caused four turnovers, including two forced fumbles and two interceptions, which he returned for touchdowns. He was ranked among the ESPN.com Top 150 recruits in the nation and was rated a Top 20 inside linebacker by Rivals.com.
2009: Suffered a right knee ACL injury before the season and was granted a medical redshirt.
2011: Suffered a season-ending ACL injury to his left knee in the fourth game.
Full name is Michael D. Mauti. He is the son of Rich and Nancy Mauti. He has an older brother, Patrick, and sister, Rachel. Patrick was a wide receiver for the Nittany Lions from 2005-09. Their father was a letterman at Penn State in 1975 and '76 as a wide receiver and played for the National Football League New Orleans Saints (1977-83) and Washington Redskins (1984). Michael is majoring in crime, law and justice. Born January 19, 1990 in New Orleans, La.