Bill O'Brien's comments following the Blue-White game concisely sum up his feelings about Mike Hull and the attributes the junior linebacker brings to the program. He has played in every game the past two seasons on defense and special teams, but his role has been transitioning into a much more significant one on and off the field since the start of this past winter's conditioning program. With the departure of the latest tandem of "Linebacker U." standouts in Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, Hull has been preparing to emerge as a significant contributor, a role foreshadowed ever since he was introduced to Penn State football. His father, Tom, also was a Nittany Lion linebacker, lettering from 1971-73 and helping Penn State to a 12-0 record as a senior. Having been born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Mike Hull is familiar with the litany of outstanding "Linebacker U." products from greater Pittsburgh during the Big Ten era and their role in the team's overall success. Late last season, he demonstrated he was ready when first-team All-American Mauti was injured in the first quarter against Indiana. Hull took the field and responded by recording a career-high 11 tackles, with one sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup in the win over the Hoosiers. Hull is an athletic, instinctive and physical playmaker who is likely to line up with senior Glenn Carson (MLB) and redshirt freshman Nyeem Wartman (OLB) in the latest edition of Penn State's tremendous linebacker tradition. Following spring practice, Hull was named co-recipient of the Frank Patrick Total Commitment Award with guard Miles Dieffenbach. He was selected third-team preseason All-Big Ten by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. A member of all four kickoff/punt units last year, Hull's 58 tackles ranked sixth on the team and he was tied for third on the squad with 4.0 sacks. An All-American at Canon-McMillan High School, his work-ethic and dedication in the strength and conditioning program has seen him add nearly 15 pounds since the summer of 2012. Entering this past summer, the tough and strong Hull was the only non-lineman among the several Nittany Lions who had surpassed 400 pounds in the bench press. With his combination of skills, speed and intelligence, Hull is a potential All-Big Ten and Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America® candidate. He owned a 3.46 grade-point average following the spring semester, is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and is on schedule to graduate in the spring.
2012 (Junior Season)
Hull played in every game for the second straight season, making his first career start against Wisconsin. After senior co-captain Michael Mauti was injured in the first quarter of the Indiana game, Hull took the field and responded by recording a career-high 11 tackles, with one sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup in the win over the Hoosiers. In addition to helping Penn State rank second in the Big Ten and No. 16 nationally in scoring defense at 19.1 ppg, Hull saw action on all four punt and kickoff units. He was No. 6 on the team with 58 tackles (34 solo), the highest total among the non-starters. He was tied for third on the squad with 4.0 sacks for minus-25 yards, recorded 5.0 TFL, two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown, an interception, a blocked punt and four pass breakups. Hull made six tackles (four solo) against Ohio and had two solo stops, including a sack, at Virginia. He had five hits and alertly scooped up a fumble, returning it 74 yards for a touchdown, in the 34-7 win over Navy for Bill O'Brien's first career head coaching victory. Hull made three stops each in wins over Temple and at Illinois and had five hits with a pass breakup in the 39-28 decision over No. 24 Northwestern. He made two solo stops and grabbed an interception in the 38-14 win at Iowa. Hull blocked his second career punt in the second quarter against Ohio State, which was recovered by Michael Yancich for a 7-0 lead in an electric Beaver Stadium. He also recorded a sack among his three solo tackles against the Buckeyes. Hull made six hits and had a pass breakup in the 34-9 victory at Purdue, helping hold the Boilermakers to their fewest points since 2008. Hull made seven tackles at No. 18 Nebraska and recovered a fumble in Northwestern territory that led to a touchdown. He made his first career start in the thrilling 24-21 overtime win over Wisconsin and had five tackles (four solo), with 0.5 TFL. Hull earned Academic All-Big Ten honors for the second time.
2011 (Sophomore Season)
In his first season on the field, Hull played in every game on special teams and defense and was an immediate contributor. He totaled 18 tackles, including 1.5 TFL, and had two pass breakups and one blocked kick. In his first career game, Hull made a team-high seven stops, with 0.5 tackles for loss, against Indiana State. He recorded two tackles and a pass breakup against No. 2 Alabama. In the win at Temple, Hull blocked a punt in the second quarter, giving Penn State the ball at midfield to set up a touchdown drive. Hull made five tackles and had one pass breakup in the Eastern Michigan victory. In the Leaders Division win over Illinois, Hull was part of a punt return unit that put pressure on Illini punter Justin DuVernois throughout the game, blocking a kick in the fourth quarter to set up a scoring drive. Hull recorded two tackles at Wisconsin, including one for a loss, and made two stops against Houston in the TicketCity Bowl. Hull saw action on 222 plays, including highs of 45 snaps against Indiana State and 38 against Eastern Michigan. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
2010 (Freshman Season)
Hull was a standout at Canon-McMillan High School, where he was coached by former Nittany Lion Guy Montecalvo. Rivals.com rated Hull the nation's No. 7 outside linebacker prospect. He was one of five members of the Nittany Lions' 2010 recruiting class selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that year. As a senior, he recorded 97 tackles in just seven games and rushed for 443 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the WPIAL in rushing as a junior with more than 1,300 yards. Hull also was a three-year letterman in baseball and a team captain, a two-year letterman in wrestling and a team captain, and was a member of the track and field team for one year.
Full name is Michael Thomas Hull. He is the son of Tom and Donna Hull. He has an older brother, Joey Trivilino, and younger sister, Ashley. His father and uncle, John Hull (1970-71), are Penn State football lettermen. His father, a linebacker, lettered from 1971-73, helping the Nittany Lions to a superlative 33-3 record, including a 12-0 mark in 1973. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and played for the 49ers and Green Bay Packers. Another uncle, Louis Kreznoski, played football at North Carolina State. During his free time, Mike enjoys playing tennis and golf and hanging out with friends. He is a finance major in the Smeal College of Business. Born May 25, 1991 in Ellwood City, Pa.