Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti spent their collegiate careers roaming Big Ten gridirons together.
Now they have a chance to do the same at NFL venues, primarily in Minnesota. The Vikings selected the pair of Penn State linebackers in the mid and latter rounds of the NFL Draft held on Saturday. Minnesota used the 23rd pick in the fourth round to select Hodges 120th overall then picked Mauti with the 213th overall selection in the seventh round.
Immediately following Mauti’s selection, Hodges expressed his excitement on Twitter.
“I think it should be illegal for me and Mauti to be on the same team again but hey I don't make the rules we just abide by them!” Hodges tweeted.
After former Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill was chosen by the Seahawks in the third round Friday, Penn State fans didn’t have to wait long for Hodges to come off the board. Thirty-one players were selected before the Vikings picked the former Penn State standout. Hodges, who started every game the past two seasons with Penn State, finished his college career with 249 tackles, 21 for losses, 5 1/2 sacks and three interceptions.
Hodges, targeted for his coverage skills, will be joined by Mauti who slid into the seventh round after he missed the season finale after tearing an ACL in the Indiana game. Mauti’s selection also elicited positive reaction on Twitter from former teammates and coaches.
“The Minnesota Vikings just got one of the best in Mike Mauti!” former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley tweeted.
Mauti and Hodges teamed to form an effective tandem along with Glenn Carson last season. They were on the field together to combine for 204 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks four forced fumbles and 14 passes defended.
“Looks like Mauti and Hodges will continue their reign together,” Carson tweeted.
And they’ll go from taking cues from one of college football’s most widely regarded linebacker teachers in Ron Vanderlinden to learning from one of the NFL’s bests in Mike Singletary. The former Bears linebacker who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998 was hired by the Vikings in 2011 to coach linebackers.
Former Penn State and Oklahoma receiver Justin Brown was also selected and will continue his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh selected Brown in the sixth round with the 186th overall pick.