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July 18, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - Penn State junior standout Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) has been named to the Watch List for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation's top linebacker.
The Watch List consists of 51 collegiate players, matching the professional jersey number of Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. Mauti is among five Big Ten players who are Butkus Award candidates.
Presented annually since 1985, "Linebacker U." All-Americans LaVar Arrington (1999) and Paul Posluszny (2005) are former winners of the Butkus Award. Nittany Lions Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor were finalists for the Butkus Award.
Also a candidate for the Nagurski Trophy, Mauti will be a leader for the defense, which returns seven starters. Despite missing all or parts of four games last year with injuries, he finished fifth on the team with 67 tackles. Earning pre-season first-team All-Big Ten notice, Mauti started seven games last year, recording 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Mauti recorded a career-high 11 tackles, with 3.0 TFL, in the historic comeback win over Northwestern to earn Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week accolades. The former Mandeville High School All-American broke his career-high in tackles in three consecutive games last season, topped by the effort against the Wildcats in Coach Joe Paterno's 400th win.
Mauti will be among a trio of Nittany Lion Football student-athletes representing Penn State at the 40th Annual Big Ten Kickoff, July 28-29 in Chicago. He will be joined by Coach Joe Paterno, senior wide receiver Derek Moye (Rochester) and senior running back Joe Suhey (Deerfield, Ill.).
The Butkus Award semi-finalists will be announced October 24 and the finalists will be announced November 22. The 27th Butkus Award winner will be announced December 7. A selection panel of 51 coaches, media and evaluators will determine the Butkus Award winner.
The Nittany Lions return 41 letterwinners and 15 starters for the 2011 season, (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 17 players that have starting experience. Penn State opens its 125th season Sept. 3 vs. Indiana State in Beaver Stadium and Alabama visits Happy Valley on Sept. 10 (3:30 p.m. kick) for the first time since 1989. All Penn State fans are encouraged to wear white to the Alabama game.
Penn State Football season tickets are available. Ticket information is available online at Penn State Football season tickets are available. Ticket information is available online at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or fans can call Penn State Athletics Customer Relations at 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m. or fans can call Penn State Athletics Customer Relations at 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.