Be sure to check out Scout.com's audio interivew with Mealer, here.
Elliott Mealer had been to several games in the Big House already. The 6’5, 290-lb offensive tackle had been an unofficial visitor to a couple home games this fall, but nothing quite like what he faced on Saturday when the Wolverines took on their biggest rival (and Mealer’s home-state school) Ohio State.
“The game versus Ohio State was a great atmosphere,” Mealer said. “I obviously didn't enjoy the outcome or the game itself, but I did enjoy being there and seeing what it was like. It was definitely different than any other game I had been to.”
Mealer and this incoming class of recruits will be part of a team that tries to break a four game losing streak to the Buckeyes next season. One big question is who will lead the Wolverines into Columbus next November now that Lloyd Carr has retired?
“I was surprised and sad when I found out Coach Carr was retiring,” said Mealer. “I have not played for him yet, but I can tell he's a great man and all I hear is that he's a great coach. He teaches his players about off the field life also and I know I will miss not being able to have him as a coach.”
Whenever there is a coaching change, there is always the worry that committed players will look elsewhere as other schools come after them. With sixteen commits on board already, that challenge is a reality for the Wolverines, but it doesn’t sound like Elliott is one to worry about.
“As for my commitment to Michigan, it's exactly that. I'm committed to Michigan,” he said. “I would really like to see the staff stays…Coach DeBord and Coach Moeller in particular because I am closest to them. If not, then I will wait and see what happens with the new coach and his staff. I will feel things out. It would take a lot to change my commitment to Michigan.”
Sitting in the stands on Saturday, Mealer also got a chance to talk to some of his fellow commits, some of whom he keeps in contact with throughout the season. It seems that even with the uncertainty, Mealer and his classmates are standing firmly behind the block M.
“I have spoken to other commits and they all seem to be strong in their commitments too. I think we're all strongly backing Michigan and Coach Carr's decision. We know we committed to Michigan because of its strong tradition and academics,” he said
As hard as it is for the commits to stay firm with different people in their ear, it’s even harder for Mealer and the recruits in Ohio. The border war between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes is one of the nation’s fiercest and Mealer finds himself right in the thick of things.
“Being in Ohio and being a Michigan fan, a commit no less, is not safe right now,” he said laughing. “It comes with the territory and I can take the heat. I defend Michigan the best I can and let the Buckeye fans talk. I haven't heard too much today, but once I get to school it should be interesting.”
So how does Mealer handle any trash talk?
“I just say GO BLUE!”