In five years with the Penn State Nittany Lions, linebacker Mike Hull has seen some of the best, and indeed the absolute worst of the program. He helped the team get by the heinous Jerry Sandusky scandal, he helped the team adjust to the transition under Bill O’Brien two years ago, and now he will lead the team in their first season under new head coach James Franklin.
But that’s the key word when talking about the redshirt senior this season; lead. As the veteran of this group, Hull knows that this defensive unit is now his to have full control of, and it’s a responsibility that he’s not taking lightly.
“It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Hull told ESPN.com. “It’s my time to step up and lead the team and lead a good defensive unit to where we can win a Big Ten championship.”
Having to deal with a minor leg injury for the better part of last season, Hull wasn’t the next face of “Linebacker U” like everyone thought he would be, but if you listen to the comments by new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, 2014 could indeed be the year that Hull makes his mark on not only the Big Ten, but the entire nation.
“Mike’s very mature,” Shoop said. “He’s football smart. He’s very distinctive. … There’s not a player I trust more than him. He’s a really special guy, and he’s the undisputed quarterback of the defense.”
The Penn State offense in 2014 will have the flash leading them with the return of sophomore QB Christian Hackenberg, while the defense will have the mature, reinvigorated Hull manning things on that side.
It seems to be the best balance heading forward for Franklin and the rest of the PSU coaching staff.