Gators high on Mauti

Michael Mauti has been drawing a lot of attention in recent weeks. The 6-2, 220-pound linebacker from Mandeville (La.) has pulled in close to ten offers from some of the top schools in the country, including the Florida Gators. Last week, offensive line coach John Hevesy dropped by his high school for a visit, and he expects linebacker coach Charlie Strong to be by in the near future.

Michael Mauti lists offers from Penn State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Tulane in addition to his Gator offer. With a strong list of offers already in hand, and another one expected from LSU in the next few weeks, one would think he might take some time evaluating his opportunities. But this is a decision he wants to have wrapped up by the end of the summer.

[premium]"It's hard to narrow down the list because it's hard to tell a school no," Mauti said. "I'm in my evaluating stage because I want to learn a little bit about every one. But I want to make a decision before August just to get it out of the way, so I can focus on my senior year."

Mauti has been traveling around himself. Just last week he took an unofficial visit to Oklahoma.

"I just went to check out the campus and meet up with the coaches," he said. "I had a nice visit there. It was a nice place."

He lists Oklahoma in his top five along with Penn State, Florida, Oregon and LSU. He said that the Gators have been coming at him hard, especially over the last couple of days.

"Yesterday, I was texting coach Meyer and he said they watched my highlight tape again and they said I was top three," Mauti said. "I don't know if that's legitimate. I'm just going by what they say. I'm definitely going to take a visit and look a lot deeper into that."

The emotional choice for Mauti, however, is Penn State. His brother Patrick is a walk on there and his father Rich played there before a seven year NFL career spent mostly with the New Orleans Saints.

"I've just always liked them because my dad played there," he said. "Last year, I got to go to a camp there, and I learned a lot. I really enjoyed it. I'm excited about them, not just because my father played there and brother plays there now, but because it's a cool place."

Penn State has been slow recruiting Mauti, though. He only has a verbal offer from them, and it took some time for them to respond to his highlight tape.

"I sent them my highlight tape about two months ago," Mauti said. "They are different than other schools because their recruiting is a little slower. They said they just popped in my tape and said, ‘wow.' Meanwhile, I'm thinking maybe they saw it and didn't like it. Now that I see they are interested, I'm going there during the summer to see them again. I can definitely see them ending up in my top three."

Mauti said distance isn't in issue when he makes his final decision, so Oregon is a strong possibility.

"Oregon is a new place," he said. "It's out west, and I've never been there. I've heard a lot about them and their facilities. I'm just interested. I've been talking with the coaches and they seem like nice guys. I don't know if I'll get a chance to get out there because my summer is pretty busy, so it still remains to be seen."

Although, he's yet to receive an offer from LSU, they are the local favorite.

"Given the fact that they are only about an hour away, everyone around here is an LSU fan," Mauti said. "It kind of rubs off on me. I've been an LSU fan, and I've been a Penn State fan. I'm split down the middle. I went there for some spring practices and their junior day. The facilities are nice, but facilities are relative. Everyone's got crazy facilities and spending millions of dollars on them."

Mauti said he expects LSU to come by in the next few weeks to evaluate him in person and determine whether they will extend him an offer.

Mauti wants to major in sports management, so his future school will have to have a strong program in the field. He finished his junior season with 121 tackles, 24 for a loss, four sacks, two interceptions (both returned for touchdowns) and two forced fumbles.

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