Big Ten rankings: No. 24, Michael Mauti

On Tuesday, we kicked things off in our preseason top 25 player countdown. We'll be doing this every day, right up to the start of the season.

Keep in mind that these rankings are based partly on past performance and also on potential impact for this season. NFL draft potential does not weigh in to our thinking.

And now for the second player on our list ...

No. 24: Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State, R-Jr., 6-2, 234

2010 numbers: Played in 11 games, with seven starts, and recorded 67 tackles, two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.

Why he's here: Like our No. 25 player on the list, Wisconsin's Chris Borland, Mauti is a major impact linebacker who just needs to stay healthy to capitalize on his immense potential. After a promising freshman year, he missed all of 2009 with a torn ACL and was slowed last year by nagging injuries. He says he feels great now and showed this spring that he can be a playmaking machine in the mold of Penn State's other "Linebacker U" alumni. Mauti has great size and excellent speed and loves to get his nose dirty with physical play. He's a candidate to lead the Nittany Lions and perhaps the league in tackles if he can simply stay on the field. Penn State is excited about its depth and talent at the linebacker spot this year, and Mauti should be the guy leading the way.


No. 25: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin