Penn State had two of the best linebackers in the Big Ten this season in Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, and next year, they'll both graduate, leaving the team without its defensive heart. Replacing them seems a nearly impossible task, but someone will have to step in.
The easy answer is that nobody will be able to equate the production the Nittany Lions got out of Mauti, who took was first team all-Big Ten and won the Butkus-Fitzgerald Award for the league's best linebacker, or Hodges, who was named second team. But the coach in charge of linebackers at Linebacker U, Ron Vanderlinden, insisted there were players in the pipeline in an article by Audrey Snyder of The Patriot News.
Most important for Penn State will probably be senior middle linebacker Glenn Carson, who started every game his sophomore and junior years, finishing third on the team in tackles behind his outside counterparts. Mike Hull started in Mauti's absence on several occasions, including the final week of the year when the team wore the injured Mauti's number on their helmets. Ben Kline could fill Hodges' outside spot, as the redshirt freshman was listed as his backup, while the team is high on true freshman Nyeem Wartman, who missed almost the entire season with an ankle injury and will likely take a medical redshirt to retain his year of eligilibity.