Mike and Roosevelt have more than just their high school in common. Both came to UC as small but fast players. Mike is a 6 foot 165 pounder that runs the forty in 4.4 seconds, but that's where the similarities end. As a cornerback, Mike will be using his speed to defend passes instead of receiving them. Incidentally, Roosevelt Mukes was one of Mike's coaches at Wayne High School.
In getting to UC, Mike had to show off one of his fast moves in the recruiting game. He explained, "I verbaled to Bowling Green, but I felt like they squeezed me. My coach felt like that too. He told me to come down to Cincinnati and take a visit. If I liked it, I should go there. So I came here and visited and loved it down here. I loved the atmosphere, players, and coaching staff."
Mike confirmed his getting a qualifying score on the ACT and expects to compete for a job this fall. He feels he has the ability to play right away. "I'm coming here to play. I want to get on the field." He also identified the skills that will help him reach this goal. "I think my speed is definitely a strength. Plus, I'm a good tackler."
Mickens recently attended a UC spring practice with long time rival and friend Cedric Tolbert of Xenia High School. After six seasons as league opponents, they will be teammates next year at UC. They have a mutual respect for each other despite the possibility of competing for playing time next fall. Here's what Cedric had to say about Mike. "He's by far the best defensive back I played against. He's also one of the fastest, if not the fastest, player I've gone against. He's probably one of the smartest guys too." Mike currently has the state's fastest time (37.8) in the 300 meter hurdles. When asked who was the faster player, Cedric painfully admitted the truth. "He's faster than I am. I'd have to give him the edge." But Cedric insisted he was the better looking.
The respect is not one-sided. Mike was also complimentary of Cedric's game, "He's a heck of a running back and a defensive back. I've seen him play both really well. He can come to the college level and play offense or defense." Cedric is expecting to play either cornerback or safety at UC.
The lure of playing in the Big East Conference was important to Mike Mickens, and his goals extend beyond playing college football. "It's big time football. I'm really looking forward to the travel and playing against the best. I want it to help prepare me to play in the NFL."
Mike Mickens and Cedric Tolbert join Brad Jones (Canton McKinley) in bringing great speed to the Bearcat secondary. It should be exciting to watch these guys develop over the next four years.