Four-star senior defensive tackle Donovan Munger played varsity as a freshman, and the 6-foot-4, 290-pound, lineman is the unquestioned leader of this team. Although he has over 20 scholarship offers, Munger brings much more to the table than just his on-field talent.
"I hope to God this isn't our last game, and we get into the playoffs somehow," Munger stated. "If this was my last game, my first thought is that my career has gone by too fast. Way too fast. I remember my freshman year and playing on the varsity, but we weren't very good at all. We had all these losing seasons, but I kept believing we were going to turn it around. I just kept working and waiting for us to start winning, but it never happened until this year."
"It was a great experience playing here, but going 2-8 and 1-9 was killing me," he added. "I had to wait until my senior year to have the winning experience, but this was all worth it. Our younger guys have the talent, and now they realize how hard they have to work, so their future is really bright. In the end, I loved playing here and I love all my teammates. My favorite moment was this past off-season, when I just knew we were going to be winners. Everybody was grinding hard and I could see the attitudes changing."
Munger played a huge role in changing the attitudes of his teammates, but first he had to learn to be more of a vocal leader.
"I've really grown up a lot in the past year, and I knew I had to take responsibility for not only myself, but the other players in our program," Munger explained. "I'm more of a quiet person by nature, but I had to step up and show my teammates how badly I wanted to win. I had to tell myself that I needed to be different, and being a quiet leader wasn't going to work. The younger guys were all looking to me to see if things really could change around here, so I tried to show them what we needed to do, and I told everyone what we needed to do."
"I had to step into that role, but I'm glad I did and it made me a more mature person," he continued. "Having this much success as a senior really made it all worthwhile, and I wouldn't change a thing about my time at Shaker. I've loved every minute of it."
As a four-star prospect, Munger's play on the field has been impressive to say the least, although he is his harshest critic.
"My play has been good, but there are lots of things I need to work on and get better at, like all players do," he stressed. "I think I've had a good year, but maybe not a great year, but we won a lot of games. I'm all about winning, and that's what I want to take with me to the next level. I've had enough of playing well, but losing the game."
Munger is in the process of setting up official visits, even though he is not certain which schools he will visit. He does plan on taking all five official visits.
"I have one visit set up and I will be taking an official to UCLA for their game with USC," he admitted. "I like UCLA a lot and to see them chase an Ohio guy makes me feel good. I talk to the coaches a lot, and they tell me I'm a high-character guy and the type of talent they need on their team."
"I don't have any other official visits set up yet, but I know Ohio State will be one," he added. "I'm going to the Michigan game, but I'm not sure if that will be an official or not. I'm going with my coach for the Michigan game, and I need to get my mom down there, but it's tough with her schedule. I was there for the Nebraska game and it was great."
"I'm not really talking to too many other schools," Munger said. "I like Louisville a lot and I could be setting an official visit with them. I also like Tennessee a lot and they are showing me a lot of love. I've been there before and liked it, plus it's SEC football. I like Michigan State, but they don't really contact me that much. I'm still open to hearing from schools, and I'd like to take all five visits.
Shaker Heights will need some help this weekend to make the playoffs, and Munger and his teammates will learn their fate Saturday evening.