Mandeville, La., linebacker Michael Mauti has already pulled in 11 written scholarship offers this recruiting season with more likely to come as he heads toward the summer. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound product of Mandeville High has indicated his three favorites at this point in his recruitment, as well.
Right now, my top three would be Penn State, Florida and Oklahoma, Mauti said. I am planning on visiting Florida on June 2 and I will be attending the Penn State senior camp this summer. I have already taken an unofficial visit to Oklahoma a month or two ago.
Mauti was impressed with Oklahoma after his visit.
I really liked Oklahoma more than I had expected going in, Mauti said. I spoke with their coaches and they said that they were having a crisis at linebacker right now. They told me that they have two guys leaving after this year and the next so they really are out looking for linebackers. That really opened my eyes to Oklahoma as a team to consider more seriously.
Mauti, the son of former Penn State two-time letterman Rich Mauti and brother of current Penn State wideout Patrick Mauti, obviously feels a connection with the Nittany Lions.
I grew up saying that I wanted to go to Penn State and that I would commit as soon as I got an offer, Mauti said. Now that the time has come, I've realized that I need to take a look around and be sure of where I want to be. Obviously, I have ties to Penn State with my dad going there and my brother currently going to Penn State. I have gone to games in the past, but not really as a recruit or at least a recruit that they knew a lot about. Now I want to go camp up there and talk with the coaches some more. I talk to Coach [Ron] Vanderlinden a lot right now as it is, but I want to take in that environment as an upcoming recruit.
Mauti even talked a bit about what Penn State has to offer and what the staff has been telling him throughout his recruitment.
I actually have a funny story about Penn State with my dad, Mauti said. When my dad was leaving Penn State he wrote Coach [Joe] Paterno a letter saying that he hoped that he would be around for when his kids were going to college to coach them. When my brother Patrick was coming to Penn State to play football, we were all up there and Coach Paterno pulls out this letter from my dad from thirty years ago about his kids playing for him. We all had a pretty good laugh about that. It is really something special to think that I could play for the same coach as my dad and my brother. I haven't made any decisions, obviously, but Penn State has that pull on me.
Mauti talked a bit about what the Nittany Lions plans are with life after Paterno.
I actually talked to Coach Vanderlinden about the situation of when Coach Paterno retires, Mauti said. He told me that you have rumors and questions about when the coach will be leaving everywhere these days. Any coach could take another job at another school or leave for the NFL. At Penn State, you know that Coach Paterno is going to be there as long as he can walk. Coach Vanderlinden said that when Coach Paterno does retire, the plan is to have someone on the current staff take over so you know that nothing will change. All of the coaches at Penn State have been there for at least seven years or so, most of them more than that, so you know what you get with Penn State.
All of that being said, Mauti considers it even between his three favorites at this point, but he has moved up the timetable for his decision.
I was originally going to wait and take all of my visits and make a decision in January or something, Mauti said. Now I realize that some schools are only going to take so many linebackers and it might be best to make an early decision if I know where I want to go. Right now I am leaning toward making my decision before August. I will miss out on all of the official visits, but if I know where I want to go there is no need.
Stay tuned for more on Mauti this summer following his visits to Florida and Penn State, as his decision looms by the end of the summer.