Penn State Player Spotlight: Mike Hull
In his final season as a Nittany Lion, graduate student Mike Hull will look to lead his team through another emotional season. However, things are a bit different this time around. On Monday, the NCAA announced that it had lifted the sanctions against Penn State, making this year’s group of Nittany Lions eligible to play in a bowl game.
“The whole thing’s kind of been a roller coaster ride,” Hull said. “I’m really excited for the opportunity but we’ve still gotta take it one game at a time so that can be reached at the end of the season.”
Penn State took on the motto “One Team” back in 2012, and Hull said their perspective never changed.
“As soon as the sanctions were put on us I was expecting to ride it out just how it was,” said Hull. “Just play for each other, play for the Penn State community. Fortunately they were reduced and I think a lot of the guys, especially the seniors, are really excited about that.”
Last year Hull ranked second on the defense with 78 total tackles even though he was sidelined for two games and saw limited time in others with a knee injury.
Just two games into the 2014 season, Hull has 22 total tackles and one sack.
Although Penn State boasts a record of 22-2 all-time against Rutgers, Hull said the defense needs to bring their “A game” against a tough Rutgers offense.
“I think Rutgers has a really great offense,” Hull said. “A great quarterback with experience, running back is a really solid player.”
Penn State head coach James Franklin said they want to focus on stopping the run game and force Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova to make decisions.
“Our philosophy is always to make people one-dimensional,” Franklin said. “So far, we've done a pretty good job of that.”
Some have said that Penn State is no longer “Linebacker U,” but players like Hull have proven that this title can stick around for the years to come. Not only is he good at stopping the run, but he can also drop back into coverage.
Hull is an under-sized, versatile linebacker, standing at just 6-feet and 232 pounds. He can use his quickness and speed to drop back into coverage when the defense wants to send other linebackers on the rush.
With Penn State looking to go all out to stop the run game, it will be important for Hull to play in the middle of the field to slow down the dynamic Nova.
Hull is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten award honoree and uses his intelligence to play in this energetic defense that Franklin has brought to Penn State.
You can catch Hull and the Nittany Lions take on Rutgers at 8 p.m. this Saturday on ComRadio. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with The Opening Drive.
Alex Passaretti is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To reach him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.