I have been a fan of Penn State football since 1981; during that time I have seen many good linebackers as well as a few great ones play for the Nittany Lions. I belive that Michael Mauti is one of those few great ones. In my mind greatness is something that cannot easily be defined; as someone once said in another context “You know it when you see it.” In addition, to me greatness is not just what one does on the field but also what one’s play on the field means in relation to a team’s position at that time.
Nobody can dispute that the 2012 season is a crossroads for PSU football given the events of last fall as well as having our first new head coach since 1966. Michael Mauti more than any other player has symbolized this team’s willingness and ability to work through adversity and make all PSU fans proud of the team for what they have done and stood for on and off the field. Although this team has no season captains it is clear to me that Mauti is the leader of this team.
In terms of ranking Mauti I would put him 4th among the linebackers to play at PSU during the past 32 years. By going back only to 1981 I am excluding some greats-most notably Jack Ham-but if I did not see someone play while he was at PSU I cannot honestly evaluate him in comparison to those I have seen. The pnly linebackers I would rank ahead of Mauti are Shane Conlan, Paul Posluszny and LaVar Arrington. I should say that these 3 players are in my top 10 of all time favorite PSU players that I have seen play. I believe that Michael Mauti both because of his play on the field and his actions and words off it will be thought of in the same light as those three all time greats.