Former Gopher recruit is at D 1-AA Gardner-Webb

Mike Pavelko, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker and fullback from Eden Prairie (MN) High, was recruited by the Gophers who were hoping to get him to walk-on. However, Pavelko decided to sign a scholarship with Division I-AA Gardner-Webb after visiting the Minnesota campus before sigNing day. Golden Sports.Net caught up with Pavelko's father Patrick to find out the latest on this one-time Gopher recruit.

Mike Pavelko was named first-team Star Tribune and KARE 11 All-Metro team and was second-team Associated Press All-State and helped lead the Eagles to 10-1 mark as a senior. They fell to eventual state champion Minnetonka 17-7 in the Section 2 championship game.

Pavelko had said that last winter that Minnesota had shown the most interest and was thinking about offering him a scholarship. He had sent film to most of the Big Ten schools and Iowa State. However, Pavelko failed to get a scholarship offer and elected to sign with Gardner-Webb, where his sister played golf.

Pavelko scored a 25 on the SAT and has a 3.0 GPA. He bench presses 320 pounds and runs a 4.69 40-yard dash.

Patrick said that his son went down to Gardner-Webb June 27th to take two summer school courses in the second summer semester and to get a jump on strength and conditioning.

Patrick said that his son will definitely play this season and will not be redshirted.

Pavelko is currently second on the depth chart at middle linebacker and is expected to play on special teams. He is expected to back a three-year starter at middle liNebacker.

Gardner-Webb switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 this season. They lose three senior linebackers after this season, so Pavelko could wind up as a starter next fall.

Patrick said that Pavelko has been working hard with the strength and conditioning.

"He got down to 223 pounds and now is back up to 228 as he has added muscle and lost some of his baby fat."

The Pavelko family is very familiar with the Gardner-Webb campus since their daughter attended the school and plan to attend two games a month. Patrick said that the school has renovated their football stadium, increasing capacity to nearly 10,000 and they have a new locker room, weight room and team offices.

Gardner-Webb is picked to finish third in the Big South Conference and the Bulldogs open their season Saturday September 3rd against Union.

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