There are more than 100 players on the CSU football roster, but none of them have quite as much character or perseverance as number 12.
A native of Riverside, Calif., just east of Los Angeles, Mike Myers is a fifth-year senior for the Rams who has been listed third on the depth chart at the running back position for the past several seasons behind Kyle Bell and Gartrell Johnson III. In 25 collegiate games played as a running back, Myers has only 66 carries for 327 yards and three touchdowns, with no touches out of the backfield so far in 2008. By far one of the most athletic players on the Rams’ roster, Myers just can’t seem to make his way to the top, but it isn’t because of his inability to play, but rather the CSU’s strength at his position.
“Mike’s a great kid. I wish I could find more reps for him and playing time, but it’s a logjam at the top,” said Anthony Hill, CSU running backs coach. “He does everything you ask of him, a great kid, a great student, great football player, we just haven’t been able to get him in the mix much.”
For many, getting relatively little playing could be frustrating and cause one to consider transferring. In fact, Hill said he is very frustrated for Myers, saying he could start at a lot of programs. But Myers doesn’t complain, he puts on his pads every day ready to practice and help his team.
“Of course I want to be out there playing, but I’m trying to maximize all my opportunities on kickoff return and eventually one of them is gonna break and then everyone will be happy,” said Myers, who is averaging 24 yards per return this season. “I haven’t returned kicks in five years, since high school, but I like it a lot. The first couple of returns were kind of sketchy, but I’m getting back into the flow of things.”
Even though Myers sees limited time on the football field on Saturday’s, it’s what he does off the field that makes him such a role model.
He’s an excellent scholar, receiving preseason academic all-Mountain West honors in 2005, and has plans of attending graduate school following his football career. He has an excellent attitude, staying positive about almost all things. And he’s someone who cares about others.
Myers is majoring in human development studies and wants to be a child psychologist. Following graduation he plans to do social work, trying to help kids who have veered off back onto the right path.
“For employment, I’m looking at a place called Paramount Youth Services down in Denver, which is like a juvenile detention facility,” said Myers.
Myers’ positive perspectives on football and life make him one of the football program’s favorite players.
“Mike’s a lot of fun. He brings an energy to the game and just loves coming out and playing. He’s focused and serious about it, but doesn’t take it too serious,” said Kyle Bell. “I guess what I’m trying to say is he brings an enthusiasm to the team and is just one of those guys who’s really great to have in the locker room and on the field.”
While Myers, Bell and Johnson have never raced head-to-head, Bell agrees with Myers that Mike is the fastest of the senior trio.
“It would probably have to be Mike, he’s a little lighter than me and Gartrell, and he’s more of a burst speed kind of guy. If I had to pick one, it would have to be Mike, realistically, I’d love to say me, but I gotta be honest.”
Football beat writer Matt Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.