Hankinson's Hero: NDSU's Mauch honored with celebration in his honor
The North Dakota State All-American left tackle had his entire hometown come out to celebrate his remarkable career.
HANKINSON, ND - Hankinson, North Dakota is about to have its moment in the spotlight.
The tiny town of less than a thousand people in Richland County will be able to call itself home of an NFL player in a couple months.
But long before Cody Mauch was rising up draft boards, he's been the star of this town for the last few years.
"It's kind of neat, this morning, my kindergarten kids were like Cody's here, Cody's here, Cody's here, it's so awesome." Stacey Mauch, Cody's mom said.
It was a scene befitting a 9-man town. The entire high school gym was packed to honor the Bison All-American left tackle, who seems destined for an NFL future in the coming months. His hometown did not hesitate to make sure Mauch know how much he means to them.
Head football coach Jason Monilaws, who coached Mauch in high school from 2014-17, emceed the ceremony.
"This was so nice to see. It's one thing to have the student body all here, but you had people in town stop by, some taking time off of work. It's pretty cool to honor him for what he's accomplished." Monilaws said.
Mauch's day started with a question and answer session with high school students, with questions ranging from who was the toughest player he's gone up against to does anyone pull the long flowing red locks that come out the back of his helmet.
Mauch's dad Joe said: "He was feeling awkward, he didn't want to be the center of attention. But he's just so good with the young kids and such a good role model."
"I spoke to the high school kids, I wasn't expecting a Q and A, I really appreciate my town." Cody said.
Mauch has started the last 34 games at left tackle for the Bison. His star has risen since being inserted into the lineup in the spring of 2021. He was named an All-American last season, all the while entertaining the masses with his traditional first down gestures.
His family says things got serious with the NFL this summer as they started to do interviews with agents. Mauch was invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl last week, becoming the fourth NDSU offensive linemen to be invited to the game since 2013.
He'll be honored Saturday before the game against the University of North Dakota along with 11 other seniors as NDSU plays its final regular season home game. Then it's the FCS Playoffs and whenever those wrap up, then it's the NFL.
For the former Pirate, who used to work around these halls, now to be the man in the spotlight, it was a lot to take in.
"You just don't think it would happen in the first place, he was playing 9-man football, he walked on at NDSU and he earned everything that he has gotten there." Stacey said.