Editor’s note: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected OL Cody Mauch with the No. 48 pick in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28.
FARGO, N.D. (BVM) — North Dakota State football has become a powerhouse at the FCS level. The Bison have won four of the last five national championships and are on the prowl for No. 6.
Throughout this run, offensive tackle Cody Mauch has become one of the faces of the program.
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Even to the point where he has emerged as an NFL Draft prospect. He was ranked as the No. 50 player on The Athletic’s midseason rankings in November.
But before he was thinking much about his football future, he was just a kid growing up in Hankinson, North Dakota, in a house with seven siblings.
With Mauch being the second oldest, he matured quickly with frequent babysitting. But just always being around loved ones helped mold him into the person he is today.
“I was always just surrounded by people,” Mauch said. “Always being around family really shaped me into who I am.”
With the help of his older brother, he was also able to shape his love of football.
The Mauchs, who grew up on a family farm, would mow a 60–yard patch in the field giving them plenty of room for their one-on-one matchups.
“I don’t know why we needed 60 yards of field for that,” Mauch joked.
Not too long after that, head-to-head football turned into organized football. Mauch got the chance to experience not only the Xs and Os but what it was like to be a part of a football team.
When Mauch got to high school, he did not play a lot as a freshman and his team went 3-5. But after one big win on a nasty night filled with a mix of rain and snow, none of that mattered.
Mauch may not have known it at the time, but he was learning what playing football was all about. All of the long summer practices filled with gassers, hard days in the weight room and all the sacrifices made were worth it for moments like these.
“We were wearing our all-white jerseys and after the game, everybody just goes and dives in the mud,” Mauch said. “You’re with your buddies and everybody is just kind of embracing it together.”
Even though he stands now at 6-foot-6, 303-pounds, he did a little bit of everything during his time at Hankinson High School. He played some quarterback, running back, and receiver and initially headed to North Dakota State as a tight end.
He moved to the offensive line during his second year in Fargo.
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Mauch now plays with an upper edge, knowing the thought process of every player on the offensive side of the ball.
But unlike every other position, the offensive line typically does not receive the same type of praise as a quarterback or a star playmaker might. But that’s the furthest thing from Mauch’s mind, as everyone is treated as equal in the locker room.
“Whether it’s the running backs or quarterbacks, everyone on the team will let us know if we’re doing a good job,” Mauch said.
Other people that recognize this are NFL evaluators. But as mock drafts are released daily with Mauch’s name on it, he is more focused on what he can control.
“While I see it, I don’t really think too much into it,” Mauch said. “I’m just so worried about finishing off the season the way we want to at NDSU. I kind of figured if we do that, and finish it the right way, everything else will kind of fall into line.”