Since they have already enrolled as full-time students, Mauti and Beachum will not have to sign letters of intent with Penn State. They became officially tied to the school from an athletic perspective when they began classes for the spring semester.
We spoke with several program observers to get an early assessment of newest the Nittany Lions.
Michael Mauti: The latest addition to Linebacker U., Mauti has already turned some heads in workouts. As one observer told us, "He's really put together — he doesn't look like a true freshman. Actually I think some of the guys were confused as to who he was at first. He's got the Chris Colasanti type build. He's not as big as Chris, but he's really solid." Mauti is at about 225 pounds and "looks like he could carry another 10 pounds easily."
Attitude: Described as "very nice," "humble" and "genuine," Mauti has already warmed up to many around the program. However, he also has an intense streak, "Watching him work out, he's aggressive. He really pushes it. I am sure he's trying to make an impression, but he realizes he has some big time competition and he's going to have to get a running start to really get himself ready," one observer said.
Strength: Another observer talked about Mauti's strength, saying, he's run through strength and conditioning coach John Thomas' early workouts well. "Honestly, [the workouts will] knock anyone down. But he's shown some good leg and torso power."
Mauti has also put in extra workouts carrying the "suitcase" (a 100 pound barbell-like piece of equipment with a handle) around the weight room. "I really think this guy is out to make a statement," another observer said. His upper-body is in good shape and observers expect him to focus on his legs, particularly his thighs, in workouts "to help with his mobility on reads."
Speed: Mauti's overall mobility in early runs has been good. "He carries his frame well — he has a good stride, although the conditioning will help him to improve here this [off-season]." Mauti has shown good movement in early agility drills. "He's pretty nimble, which is what [linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden] loves to see in his guys."
Brandon Beachum: Projected as a running back, some observers say that he has good physical size and speed, but he is shorter than expected. "He looks like he's built more like a fullback," one observer said. "But he seems quick in runs, so I'll have to see him with the ball,."
Speed: Beachum has shown good early speed and endurance on runs and has managed to keep up in the sprint sessions. He's "light on his feet," and has "got a nimble stride." His lower body is "really put together and he's got some power in those legs," one observer said. He is expected to work his legs this winter to "help with his lateral cuts — strengthen up those hips and thighs so he can shift direction more easily."
Strength: At about 222 pounds, Beachum has a "good physique" and "looks the part." As one observer said, "He looks like he has the frame to add some size up top, in his shoulders, chest and back. His legs look good, but [the staff] will want him to add some mass to help run over guys."
Attitude: Beachum is said to be quiet and "heads down," as one observer explained, "He's been all ears early on. He seems to just be taking things in. He's connected with Evan Royster and has been talking a lot with him about the backfield and back role."
• Earlier this week, the Daily Collegian reported that three players have been suspended from the Penn State football team. The paper identified one as defensive back Knowledge Timmons.
While The Collegian report was not clear on how long the suspensions might last, we have been told they are more than likely not permanent. "By all accounts this is one of those temporary deals. The guys were told that they will likely be back for spring or summer," an observer said.
If and when the players return will obviously be impacted but how their respective legal issues are sorted out and by how Penn State's Office of Judicial Affairs deals with them.
• During the week the squad held a "players only" meeting. While we don't know exactly what was said, we've been told one point of emphasis was for the players to start being held accountable for their actions away from the field. There is a sense that in two well-publicized issues with the team in the past year — fights in a downtown apartment and in the HUB on campus — that certain players did not step up and take responsibility for their actions, leaving others to take more than their share of the blame.
• Two other new players arrived on campus earlier this month: Kevin Hahn, the younger brother of former Lion fullback Matt Hahn (he transferred from Monmouth) and Dave Keisling, a preferred walk-on from Fork Union Military Academy.
Stay tuned to FightOnState.com for continuing exclusive coverage of Penn State football.