The Press Newspaper
Towering over his Genoa teammates at an imposing 6-foot-5, 308 pounds, 2012 second team All-Ohio offensive lineman Michael Deiter rarely does anything small.
Perhaps that's why it seems fitting that next September 6, 2014, "Big" Deiter will be packing up his oversized shoulder pads and cleats and heading 396 miles northwest to Madison, Wisconsin.
He made a verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin in June and will be joining the likes of veteran offensive linemen Hayden Biegel, Ray Ball, Rob Havenstein, and second-year coach Gary Andersen.
"I've been a Wisconsin fan for quite awhile now, and I'm very excited to be a Badger next year," offers the 17-year-old Deiter.
He was also courted by a number of other Division I football powerhouses, such as Nebraska, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Illinois, Bowling Green, Toledo, and Miami of Ohio, but says nobody paid attention to him like Wisconsin did.
"They liked my size, my athleticism, and the fact that I'm younger, and still maturing," Deiter adds.
He's now had the opportunity to visit Madison twice and is in awe every time he thinks of the sprawling UW campus, Camp Randall Stadium, and the 80,321-strong that go with it on Saturdays.
"The campus is beautiful, it's really one of a kind," continues Deiter, "and back during the spring game, I was shocked at just how many people showed up! They were so loud. They were so intense.
"The spring game experience was great," he says. "But then I got to visit again to attend camp, and the coaches were great, and welcomed me in nicely. I've got to meet a few of the players, and they seem like great teammates. Those visits just made the decision so much easier for me, and pumped me up a ton.
"Growing up, I rarely thought about football," shares Deiter, whose favorite sport to watch and play was hockey. "But ever since I started playing here my freshman year, college football has been a dream of mine."
Meanwhile, Deiter has quietly kept his nose to the grindstone to make sure he does all of the little things right, including anchoring one of the best "O"-lines in the Northern Buckeye Conference and Suburban Lakes League for three years running. He’s also mentoring the younger guys coming up on the line, and has been mentored by former all-league Genoa linemen Luke Sutter, Alex Hayes, Jake Schreuder, and Matt Keaton.
Current lineman Tyler Baird, a 5-10, 204 pound junior center, said, "Michael's a great leader for us offensive linemen, and he'll tell you how it is straight up, and everybody listens. I've learned from him that I need to be aggressive on every play, and never to take plays off. Deiter plays aggressive, fast, physical football, and is a tremendous athlete for his size. My favorite Deiter moment? Right before the half against Port Clinton when he drove a kid back 15 yards. He's a very hard worker. He's one of the first ones to get on the linemen if we're not giving it our all.
Deiter's bookend on the Comet "O"-line, senior right tackle Nick Herrick (6-3, 261) said, "He's more of a lead-by-example kind of guy, but isn't scared to get on your case if you're doing something wrong. It's pretty awesome knowing you have a big-time college recruit as a brother and a teammate, and the best thing about it is, he's not cocky about it. Deiter's very humble.
"He works harder than anyone I've ever played with, and his work ethic in the weight room is outstanding," praises Herrick. "He's a leader on the offensive line for us, and just intimidates other teams."
Coach Tim Spiess adds, "Michael is the most athletic big man I've ever had the opportunity to coach. He has a mean streak, which is difficult to match because of his overall size and power, but he has the talent of a skills player.
"His toolbox is full. He is fast, he has a 30 inch vertical, and he's athletic, and was an elite hockey player who traveled around to many areas. His leadership value is off the charts on the football field. I was hoping he would stick to the original plan of going to Wisconsin. He's been a Badger and J.J. Watt fan for quite awhile."
Deiter throws up a bench press of 315 pounds, runs a 5.2 40, and squats 500 pounds, which gives him explosion off the line.
He cites his Comet brothers on the offensive line as the reason he gets so much joy out of playing football.
"Every one of our offensive linemen has impressed me," he says. "Nick (Herrick) is helping me tow the line, and with senior leadership. And our center (Baird), left guard (Blake Traver, 5-10, 181 junior), and right guard (Jay Nino, 6-0, 232 junior) are all ready to take over whenever. It's very important to have a close-knit offensive line, because you need to be able to trust the guy next to you. We all trust each other, and we're very close. We're a family.
"My proudest team moment is whenever we take the field, lock arms, and get ready to do the hive," shares the big guy thoughtfully, of the Comets' traditional Friday night ritual of solidarity.
"It doesn't bother me that linemen don't get a lot of attention on Friday nights," he says, "I like it that way. I would rather be the behind-the-scenes guy. An offensive lineman's job is to be a protector — to consistently step in the way of the enemy to protect his team, his family. I just try to do my job. It feels the same as if I were the smallest guy out there."
Genoa has been to the postseason three consecutive seasons since Deiter stepped into a starter's role sometime during his sophomore year, and six consecutive seasons since the Mike Vicars-Tim Spiess coaching regime took over in '07.
Meanwhile, Deiter took home All-NBC, all-district and all-state accolades in his junior year alone. This year, his play allows 5-10, 183 pound senior quarterback Logan Scott to count his blessings and keep his jersey clean.
"This is my second season as the starting quarterback, and I'm very thankful to have Michael and all of the other guys on the line protecting me," says Scott, who in the first four wins has thrown for a 26.3-yard per completion average with three TDs.
"I wouldn't want it any other way. I know Michael always has my back, and will do anything he possibly can to help the team. He's a game-changing player. I think he will fit right in at Wisconsin, and I'm excited to see what he can do at the next level."
Deiter even gives respect to the opposition, particularly the Eastwood defensive line.
"They play hard, they play fast, they are strong, and they are well-coached," he says.
Deiter carries a 3.2 GPA, with designs to perhaps study meteorology in Madison. Academics, he says, is another of reasons he chose UW.
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