Michael Mauti, LB (6-foot-2, 222 lbs.)
Mauti joins a linebacker corps that has been the most consistently deep unit for Penn State in recent year. When we last assessed Mauti back in late January, one observer said, "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."
Through most of the winter drills Mauti was positioned with the outside linebackers, the position he indicated during his recruitment that he favored. However, this spring he has seen more reps in the middle and is focused on getting down the defensive schemes and calls that are so vital to the position. As one observer said, "I think [Mauti] likes [the middle linebacker position] better than outside."
Approach: The assessment of Mauti at the midway point of spring ball is that he is a "workhorse and has a tremendous work ethic." As one observer said, he has "attacked the workouts head-on."
Mobility: Clocked in the mid to high 4.5-second range in the 40 yard dash, Mauti "handles his size well and shows good mobility and footwork. He's agile and has been focused on his footwork and lateral movement with [position coach Ron Vanderlinden]," according to one observer. As another observer said, "He's pretty nimble, which is what [Vanderlinden] loves to see in his guys."
Attitude: As one observer said, "He's pretty quiet — all ears and intently focused on [Vanderlinden] in drills. He asks a lot of questions in technique and the situational teaching sessions. He's a lot like Paul Poslsuzny and Sean Lee in that regard. Those guys are borderline obsessive on their fundamentals, which worked out pretty well for them." As another observer said, "It's early, but he seems very coachable and big on learning how to elevate his play."
Improvement: Through the spring he has bee focused on fundamentals — reactions, situational work, footwork and technique. "He's getting a lot of work on his coverage skills. [The coaches] will get his technique down on on run stopping, but he's been pretty solid there. He just has to improve on knowing when and how to drop into coverage."
Impact: Given the sheer depth of the unit with veterans like Sean Lee and Tyrell Sales and the caliber of young 'backers like Colasanti, Nate Stupar and Andrew Dailey, most observers expect Mauti to redshirt. That is unless the staff elects to get him early work on special teams, which would be a similar path Lee and Colasanti have taken. As one observer said, "He's got the tools and attitude to break into the two-deep in a year or so. But if they bypass the redshirt I think he could impact the two-deep by the second half of the season."
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