After North Dakota State advanced out of December’s FCS National Semifinals into the National Championship game in Texas, All-American lineman and big-time NFL Draft Prospect Cody Mauch was handed a nearby violin.
He began to play along with NDSU’s traditional semifinal song heading into the national title game in Frisco, Texas, right outside of Dallas. The song he attempted to emulate?: “If You’re Going to Play in Texas” by superstar country band Alabama (though, for historical accuracy – they use a fiddle).
The truth is? At this point? Mauch may end up playing in Texas once again, but this time it could be for the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans. Or maybe his future NFL team will visit Texas a bunch during his pro career. Who knows?
The only thing definite at this point is that he’s going to be playing in the NFL somewhere this fall, it’s just a matter of with whom. DraftScout — a partner of GridironHeroics — projects Mauch as either a very late first-round pick, or a second-rounder on day two. Either way, he is highly regarded.
This week, Mauch impressed at the annual Senior Bowl, the most highly regarded all-star game for pro prospects getting ready for the NFL Draft later this spring. That’s a good sign.
What a journey. Mauch came to national power North Dakota State as a 6-foot-5, 221-pound walk-on tight end from a North Dakota prep program — Hankinson HS — that played nine-man football. Now, he’s a 6-foot-6, 303-pound offensive tackle who can scoot like a grizzly bear and eat up the opposition afterward.
CODY MAUCH HIGH SCHOOL FILM: Maxpreps
“I always think it’s funny that I played nine-man football in high school, because we didn’t have (offensive tackles),” Mauch told GridironHeroics. “The players up in the Dakotas are underrecruited. But when they come to a place like NDSU they get developed, they play some football, and they show that football is football, even if you come from a nine-man school. (Cincinnati Bengals starting lineman) Cordell (Volson) was a nine-man guy, too (from NDSU).”
Not surprisingly, the media throng at the Senior Bowl this week has fallen in love with Mauch. Not only is he a good prospect, but he’s also witty. He’s been asked about how he put on 85 pounds while in college after coming in as that previously mentioned 221-pound true freshman tight end, yet still has maintained TE-type mobility. He did it the old-fashioned way with the trainer, Jim Kramer. It’s a combination of natural growth from being a scrawny teenager to growing into becoming a man, good nutrition, and work with Kramer.
While the Senior Bowl media types love to talk meat-market topics, Mauch told a crew of GridironHeroics writers that he loves it when he’s asked about off-the-field stuff. When he picked up that violin, following the FCS semifinal win, he had no clue that a class of sixth graders would critique him, and then invite him to their class to help coach him up.
“When we’re in the semifinal and we win, we play that song and we all did air fiddles,” he told GridironHeroics. “So I’m doing that and somebody comes up with an actual violin. I grabbed it, and I had no idea how to hold it or know what to do, just being an idiot. It was the Moorhead (Minn.) Orchestra who let me do that, and a day later the school hit me up and said come on over with a class.
“They’re getting after me for how to hold it, and they correct me on how to play it. Interacting with them was a cool experience for them and definitely for me. If I ever get handed a violin again, I think I’ll at least know how to hold it.”
Mauch will continue to train at Rep 1 Sports in Irvine, Calif., with guys like former San Francisco 49er Pro Bowler Joe Staley — even after Mauch’s done with the NFL Combine later this month. While many prospects will head back to campus to prep for his school’s Pro Day — a final chance to fine-tune your performance from the NFL Combine if it wasn’t exactly what you wanted, Mauch will head back to Irvine for another month of prep heading into the late March NDSU Pro Day.
Mauch has been one of those dream stories coming out of a “small school”. He was an undersized prospect coming to an FCS school, albeit a powerhouse that has scared off Power Five schools from scheduling — primarily because of how NDSU builds the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Former NDSU head coach Chris Klieman, who now heads up Kansas State’s program, commented to Mauch when he was an underclassman that he could be something really special on the line if he committed to it.
Klieman was right.
“I wish I could say this was always my plan,” Mauch told GH. “I mean, it was my dream like it is for any kid, to play in the NFL. When I signed my (walk-on) agreement in 2017, I was really just trying to go to a school like NDSU.
“Maybe win a championship and do my best. I just wanted to stick it out all five years, and it has turned into something really special.”
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE