Family, tradition leads Mauti to Penn State

While it may have assisted in ESPN 150 Watch List linebacker Michael Mauti's (Mandeville, La.) decision to verbally commit to Penn State over the weekend, there were other important aspects that helped steer the defensive run stuffer towards the Nittany Lions besides the football legacy of his brother Patrick and father Rich.

"I just felt at home and relaxed around their coaches and players," Mauti said. "I particularly got close with linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinder. I just felt liked I got along with everyone and could really fit in there."

Mauti told Joe Paterno of his decision Saturday during an unofficial visit.

"They are known for producing great linebackers and have a great tradition at that position. I want to be part of that," said the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Mauti.

Mauti's tough, blue-collar playing style should have fans excited that "Linebacker U" may have just landed another high-level player. He plays with all the intangibles you look for in a middle linebacker -- toughness, a high motor and great instincts.

The rugged backer's physical traits are just as impressive. Thickly built, he is difficult to block in lateral traffic. He blends good shedding ability with excellent closing speed and short-area burst to the football. Mauit is one of the most productive short-range linebackers in the 2008 class.

Mauti was quick to acknowledge the bond he formed with a fellow 2008 linebacker commit also enticed him. ESPN 150 Watch List linebacker Michael Zordich (Youngstown, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney) flashes a similar gritty style of play between the tackles and is an excellent downhill run stopper.