Many times, when college coaches evaluate offensive tackles they have to project how a particular player will grow in the college game. Not every player is blessed with college size in high school, but many have the frame to put on weight in college and many have the work ethic to put on good weight that will actually benefit that player more in the future. Michael Yeck is that kind of player.
Yeck broke into the starting line up last season at left tackle. A basketball player for most of his life, Yeck is still relatively new to football and because he is such a good athlete, he seems to improve every time he takes the field.
"I would like to think that I had success last year, but I know that I learned a lot last season," said Yeck. "The level of play from JV to varsity, you really can't compare. I learned to be a lot quicker and I learned a lot of basic fundamentals that I needed to be competitive at the higher level. I needed to get a lot better fundamentally. I think I have good quickness and that is something that the coaches have always stressed with me. We have worked hard on my footwork and I think it is pretty good. I have literally played basketball until I started to play football, and they think being in basketball has contributed to my quickness."
Yeck had to learn on the run, but did well enough to start attracting attention from recruiters from all over the country. The media noticed him as well and he admits he is still learning how to handle all the new attention.
"I think all the attention is pretty exciting, but my parents are always telling to remain humble," said Yeck. "They tell me that it feels good to get all this attention, but that I shouldn't go around bragging about it."
It seems offensive tackles are getting taller and taller all the time, so it is not a shocker anymore to see an offensive tackle who is 6-8. Yeck admits his height can be a positive and a negative.
"They way it hurt me last year is that we are always stressing low pad level to get underneath the guy that I am playing against," said Yeck. "This is how they want me to block, especially in the run game. If the guy I am playing against is 5-10, it is hard for me to get underneath him. That is really the only way that my height has hurt me. The way it has helped me is in pass blocking. It has provided me with a great frame. I can put a lot of weight on or I can bring it down if I need to and still be quick. I have been able to put on weight naturally just by growing. Before this last season I weighed 240 and then this past summer I put on about 20 pounds and got up to 260. Then, during the season I dropped down to about 245. Now, I am trying to build that weight back up and I am at 260 right now."
Yeck works hard in the weight room and he feels his bench is up to 250 pounds. The last time Yeck was tested in the squat he put up 325, but feels he is much better than that now. Last year was the first year that Yeck did not play basketball, and he says he is is now totally committed to football.
"Now that I am starting to get some offers in football, I have decided to just concentrate on football," said Yeck. "I have been offered by BYU, Utah, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Arizona and Houston."
Oklahoma already has big Phil Loadholt who stands 6-9, Cory Brandon at 6-7 and Branndon Braxton at 6-6 playing offensive tackle for them. It is obvious Oklahoma like tall tackles, and Yeck is hearing from the Sooners.
"I had an Oklahoma coach (James Patton) come and visit my school last Wednesday," said Yeck. "I have always been on their mailing list so they have sent me some stuff and I was invited up to their spring game and the Junior Day they had up there. The coach from Oklahoma told me that he was really impressed with me with how I would get up to the linebackers. One play that stood out with him was on a reverse and I got up on the linebacker and was able to pancake him and put him on the ground. He liked my aggression and said that I had a lot of want-to. That is how he phrased it. He told me that he watches a lot big athletes that don't have the want or desire to block for the quarterback or do whatever it takes to protect him."
Yeck is LDS (Member of the Morman Church/Latter-Day Saints) and does have mission plans, but he is keeping an open mind about recruiting especially now that he is hearing from schools from in the Big 12 and many of the major conferences in the country.
"I do have some favorite schools" said Yeck. "At the moment, BYU and Utah would be at the top of my list. So would Kansas State. I am just now starting to get some attention from OU, but they would be among my top schools. If OU offers, I would certainly have an interest."
How much does the fact that Yeck is LDS play into his decision of where he will go to school?
"You know, I don't know," said Yeck. "I am kind of at a disadvantage because growing up BYU was really the only school that I ever knew. My parents went there and both my sisters went there, but they went to a different part of BYU. They went to BYU-Idaho. They don't have a sports program there. I am kind of at a disadvantage now because I am researching all these schools that have an interest in me. I am definitely open to going to school somewhere else, but I have a lot to learn about those other schools.
"I have found that for the most part schools all over the country have Mormon churches. At BYU, some of your classes are church classes. It is kind of like Bible classes. The institute kind of takes place of that in the evenings or when you have free time, there are classes there at the institute. You can still take the Bible study classes even though you are not going to BYU."
Yeck plans to lift weights all summer and continue to build on his frame. At this time he doesn't have any camps planned, but they are talking about them. Yeck attended Junior Day at Texas A&M, OU, BYU, Kansas State and Utah .
"I went to Utah because BYU and Utah are right there a couple of hours apart," said Yeck. "We flew up there to BYU to see my sister graduate from college, my second oldest sister. So I went ahead and took an unofficial visit at Utah and then went to the Junior Day at BYU."
Yeck has qualified.