By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
MINNEAPOLIS – Cody Mauch, a 2017 graduate of Hankinson High School and current offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is set to make his first start in the National Football League on Sunday, September 10 when Tampa Bay opens the 2023 season on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
Kickoff is scheduled for Noon CDT at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis – just over 200 miles from Mauch’s hometown of Hankinson.
Several fan buses from North Dakota have been organized to make the trek to Minneapolis to see North Dakota’s latest high school football standout to make it to the NFL.
Mauch will start at right guard for the Buccaneers and will be one of three former North Dakota High School football players to be making a start during NFL Week 1. Cordell Volson, a 2016 Drake High School graduate and offensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals, will start at left guard in the Bengals’ season opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, September 10. Connor McGovern, a 2011 Fargo Shanley graduate and offensive lineman for the New York Jets, will start at center in the Jets season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football (September 11).
Mauch, a former All-American left tackle at North Dakota State, was drafted by Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round (48th overall pick) of the 2023 NFL Draft on April 28 at Union Station in Kansas City.
Mauch will join Randy Hedberg (a 1973 graduate of Parshall High School) as former North Dakota High School football players to have made an NFL start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hedberg made his first NFL start w/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers at quarterback on September 18, 1977 vs. Philadelphia Eagles.
Mauch was a North Dakota High School Coaches Association (NDHSCA) 9-man Division All-State First Team selection as a defensive lineman his senior season (2016) at Hankinson High School. He also earned a NDHSCA 9-man Division All-State Second Team selection as a junior in 2015.
Mauch began his collegiate football career as a walk-on tight end at North Dakota State, but he transitioned into an offensive line prospect soon after he joined the Bison.
After a redshirt season in 2017, Mauch joined the scout team and provided depth on the offensive line appearing in six games in 2018.
In 2019, Mauch played in all 16 games as a backup offensive tackle and an occasional snap as an eligible receiver at tight end. During the 2020-21 season, Mauch became a starter on the offensive line earning All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Second Team Honors.
Mauch started in 39 consecutive games over his final three seasons at NDSU and appeared in every game NDSU played from 2019 through 2022. During his time at NDSU, the Bison compiled a 78-8 record with four NCAA Division I FCS national championships and four Missouri Valley Football Conference titles over his six seasons. Mauch also was a two-time All-American at NDSU (Associated Press All-American Second Team selection in 2021; Associated Press and First Team Stats Perform FCS All-American All-American First Team).
Mauch was named 2022 Phil Steele FCS Offensive Lineman of the Year and 2022 FCS Athletic Directors Association Top Offensive Lineman (LT).
In February, Mauch played in the Reece’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. In March, Mauch participated in the National Football League (NFL) Combine held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Mauch’s 40-yard time was 5.08 seconds and he completed 29 reps in the bench press.