After transferring from the University of Florida to Mississippi State this past summer, Michael wasn't sure if he would be playing or sitting out this season. He applied for a waiver with the hopes he would be cleared to play. He finally got his wish after the sixth game of the season, but it was difficult on him having to watch and wait.
"It was real hard waiting because I didn't know it was going to take that long," said Michael. "I was to the point where I was happy if I just got half a season. When I was granted the NCAA waiver I thought it was over, but they told me there was another process, so I had to wait for the SEC. When I finally got it all, it was like a breath of fresh air."
He immediately got his chance to play the first game after his waiver was granted.
"It was wonderful to finally get to play. I hadn't played in two years," said Michael. "But after I got out there, and as the game progressed, I got back to using my regular ability."
And his regular ability is better than most offensive linemen in the SEC, at least according to a teammate of his, senior offensive guard Brian Anderson.
"Mike has really quick feet and is a really good athlete. He probably has some of the quickest feet that I have seen," said Brian. "He has a nasty attitude out there on the football field. He's just a good, hardnose football player."
According to Brian, Michael's potential is about as good as it gets.
"His potential is the NFL. He's that good," said Brian. "He's not the fastest lineman that I've seen, but he's really, really quick, probably the quickest that I've seen. It's really unbelievable some of the stuff he does."
He's still got work to do before he realizes that potential, primarily in the run-blocking aspect of his game.
"He still needs to work on coming off (the line) in the running game," noted Brian. "Sometimes he kind of looks to see what the defense is doing instead of just coming off. That's probably due to lack of experience. Experience will take care of that."
Experience and hard work. The experience will have to come with playing time, but the hard work is all Michael. And he's doing his part.
"They've been working on my run-block and I feel as the season goes on, I will continue to progress," said Michael. "Every day, (graduate assistant coach) Jody (Wright) works with me after practice on run-blocking. I will master it."
Michael, one of the most highly recruited players in the class of 2004, talks about how he wound up at Mississippi State after signing with Florida out of high school.
"Out of high school, a lot of schools recruited me. I would say all the SEC and all the ACC," explained Michael. "Really, when it came down to my last five picks, it came down to Mississippi State, LSU, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. When it really came down to it, I felt like (former Florida head coach) Zook was the best option for me coming out of high school. That's why I attended the University of Florida."
But a couple of factors changed his feelings about Florida.
"I had good chemistry with the coaches at Florida, but that December they ended up being fired," said Michael. "When Coach (Urban) Meyer came in we formed a quick bond. He said I could be a good offensive tackle, so I moved to offensive line. I did pretty good, but it was just that me and the offensive line coach weren't on the same page. And at that time there was a lot going on with my mom, so I decided I would go home and help out with my family, help out with the needs that needed to be done around the house. When I went to college she wasn't like that, but then she had to have surgery for tumors, things of that nature. It was pretty serious and it was a lot for me to take being as young as I was and being that you only have one mom. When I went home in December, I just stayed home from then until the summer."
But after a few months both he and his mom knew it was time for him to head back to college, but he wanted to stay close enough to his mom due to her health issues.
"My mom wanted me to go back to school and I wanted to go back to school, but I wanted to go somewhere close," said Michael. "(MSU assistant) Coach (Guy) Holliday recruited me out of high school and he and I had a good bond. So, I contacted him. When I met Coach Croom I formed a good bond with him when I came down here and I decided this was the place for me."
And the rest is history in the making.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.