No D1 Offers? No Problem! How Cody Mauch Transformed into a Beast in Just Four Years

Cody Mauch is a name that you might not have heard of before, but he has an incredible story of perseverance and determination. He is an offensive tackle who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but he was not always a highly regarded prospect. In fact, he was a 0-star recruit with no Division I offers coming out of high school.

Mauch grew up on a farm in Mantador, North Dakota, where he learned how to work hard and have fun. He played multiple sports at Hankinson High School, including football, basketball, and baseball. He was a standout receiver and defensive end, scoring a school-record 24 touchdowns in his career. He also lost his two front teeth in a basketball game when he was in seventh grade, which gave him a distinctive smile.

Despite his athletic achievements, Mauch did not receive much attention from college recruiters. He only had one scholarship offer from a Division II school, Minnesota State–Moorhead. He decided to walk on at North Dakota State, a powerhouse program in the FCS that had won eight national championships since 2011. He also switched positions from tight end to offensive line, which required him to gain weight and learn new techniques.

Mauch redshirted his first year at NDSU and played sparingly in his second and third seasons. He became a starter in his fourth year and helped the Bison win another national title in 2021. He earned second-team All-MVFC honors that season and decided to use his extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He returned for his fifth year and dominated as a left tackle, earning first-team All-MVFC and consensus FCS All-American honors. He also led NDSU to its 10th national championship in 12 years.

Mauch’s impressive performance caught the eye of NFL scouts, who invited him to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. He measured at 6-foot-5 and 302 pounds, with long arms and good agility. He also impressed teams with his personality and work ethic. He was projected as a second- or third-round pick by most draft analysts.

The Buccaneers traded up two spots to select Mauch with the 48th overall pick, making him the highest-drafted player from NDSU since Carson Wentz went second overall in 2016. Mauch will join a talented offensive line that helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV in 2021. He will compete for a backup role behind veterans Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs.

Mauch’s journey from a 0-star recruit with no D1 offers to an NFL draft pick is an inspiring example of how hard work and dedication can pay off. He has overcome many challenges and doubts along the way, but he never gave up on his dream. He is an absolute savage who has earned his spot on the Buccaneers’ roster.


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