When we scour the college world for these Small School Sleepers, there are always those one or two prospects that stand out. Not for their size or speed, but for their overall play, and for what they bring to the team as a whole.
Enter, LB/S Michael Mehling, of the University of Sioux Falls, by way of Las Vegas Nevada. This prospect may only be 5’10, 208 LB’s, but he plays like an animal with a much taller frame.
Blessed with the skill set to play sideline to sideline and be a real difference maker in the run game, he has the mental toughness to be an every down linebacker. But even more impressively, he has the pure speed (4.5 40-yard dash time) to cover and be an in the box safety.
We sat down with Michael, to ask him about his time at School, and who he was outside of football.
“I am just a normal guy, I like to have a good time, but I am always working on my craft. Right now and really over the last few years, my life is all about football. I am all about getting better, bigger, stronger, and faster…I want to be the guy my coach and my teammates can always count on.
I know the question was who I am outside of football, but the honest answer is, I eat, sleep, and well you….football. I keep it in my head all the time. How do I get better? How do I outwork the next man? I will I outplay the next man, I am always going to put myself In that position. “
With a career high 11 tackles in the blowout win over Concordia-St. Paul earlier this year, it’s clear to see where that mentality shines through. It was that game which earned him his first NSIC Defensive Player Of The Week award. A report from D2Football.com details his achievement, as well as showing just how impressive his final season was.
Through eight games, Mehling ranks fifth in the NSIC with 71 tackles and is second in the league with 44 solo stops while recording 3.5 sacks and 6.5 TFLs. He has also recorded an interception which he returned 36 yards for a TD against Minot State in the third quarter of a 41-14 road win.
Mehling is part of a USF defense that ranks third in the league in scoring defense (22.4 ppg), second in rushing defense at 106.5 yards per game and second in total defense at 378.8 yards per game.
He continued on to talk about his time at school and who he is in the locker room.
“I think what I take from my time at school is to always work hard, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or the level you play at. Once you get a chance, take it and run with it if you want it. I will always be thankful for my time here at USF and for my coaches, and my teammates.
As far as who I am in the Locker room, I am the guy who will always be prepared. I am always going to work hard, and do what it takes to help the team be successful, to get that win. I am a leader in my own right, in my own way, I will always be an ear for my team. The guys that I go into battle with, they will always know, and I think they do, that I will always be there for them, in the locker room, you have to be a friend, and a leader.”
Along with his skill set, as a linebacker, or a safety, Mehling, brings the guts of a special teams ace.
“I love special teams, that is how I will get on a roster, that is how I will stand out. I love it though, I love going down and making a big play.”
There is no doubt that Mehling has the skill set, the heart, and the all around right mind frame, to be a fixture in Philadelphia for years to come. As stated earlier, when we scour these rosters looking for gems, it can be very exhausting, but then there are times, like this when a player like Michael, just sticks out.
Mandatory Photo Credit: AP