Michael Mauti And Cameron Wake Earn Respective Player Of The Week Honors
It’s always encouraging to see some of Penn State’s finest players go on to enjoy boundless success at the next level, but this week’s development is something of a rarity. Two former standouts, Michael Mauti and Cameron Wake, captured NFC Special Teams Player of the Week and AFC Defensive Player of the Week for their respective performances during Week Six of the 2015 NFL regular season.
After experiencing a relatively tumultuous offseason that included his release from the Minnesota Vikings, Louisiana native Michael Mauti seems to be fitting in nicely with his hometown Saints. While the standout inside linebacker might be buried on the Saints’ defensive depth chart behind first rounder Stephone Anthony, he’s begun to make a name for himself as a special teams ace.
This week, Mauti was honored as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his thrilling block of Atlanta Falcons punter Matt Bosher’s first quarter punt and subsequent touchdown after recovering the ball in the endzone — recording his first career touchdown in the process. While the play was outstanding in its own right, it channeled echoes of arguably the greatest play in New Orleans Saints history. In 2006, the Saints hosted the Falcons on Monday Night Football in the team’s first game back in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city. The atmosphere alone was uniquely special, but history was made after special teams captain Steve Gleason burst up the inside gap to block Atlanta’s punt, assisting as another Saints special teamer recovered the ball in the endzone. In light of the horrific events brought on by Hurricane Katrina, the play signaled to the nation that New Orleans was stronger and more resilient than ever.
Gleason, who is currently battling ALS while serving as an advocate for the disease’s research, offered his thoughts on Mauti’s sensational play.
“I loved seeing Michael Mauti block that punt Thursday night,” Gleason said in an interview with ESPN.com. “I believe life is much bigger than sports, but like any great art form, when sports are at their best, they galvanize the community in celebration. Thursday night was one of those nights. Joyous.”
Cameron Wake, the former CFL standout who now terrorizes opposing quarterbacks as a member of the Miami Dolphins’ fierce defensive line, was also awarded for his stellar play this past week.
Serving as a pass-rushing complement to premier free agent signing Ndamukong Suh, Wake’s been limited recently due to the lingering effects of a hamstring injury. However, it seems Wake was able to flip the switch against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans, recording four sacks and two forced fumbles in the blowout victory.
Just another successful week in the books for Penn State’s finest playing at football’s highest level.