The Press Newspaper
At this point in his life, you would guess Michael Deiter is enjoying the spring semester of his high school senior year and thinking about summer before heading off to college.
However, Deiter, who is done with classes at Genoa High School, is already in college.
And, he's not your average college student. He's a student-athlete who is already practicing with the University of Wisconsin football team.
Deiter got to this point by graduating early from Genoa High School over the winter, something that is becoming more common with college athletes.
He committed to Wisconsin last summer and is currently making strides in Madison, taking reps with the first team as a center. Dieter says he’s gotten to this point by working hard, staying focused, and because of injuries to several teammates.
Recruited as a guard, the 6-foot-5, 300 pound Dieter saw plenty of action in the spring game last week.
“It went pretty well,” Deiter said. “I played mostly center. I played a little guard, too. When spring comes around, I'll probably play guard.”
“He’s taking reps next to (the starters),” Wisconsin offensive line coach T.J. Woods said. “Not too many freshmen — early enrollees — are doing that. It’s not four or five reps. Its 40 or 50 reps (in a practice). Those will pay huge dividends for him down the road.”
Deiter attributes part of his success with having the extra time to practice with the team.
“(Graduating early) helped a lot, actually,” Deiter said. “I've had more time to learn the offense and I actually get to put the pads on and play. In the summer, you just condition and don't put on the pads until fall camp.”
Deiter says it's a dream for an offensive lineman to play football at Wisconsin.
Since current athletic director Barry Alvarez arrived in Madison in 1990 to coach the Badgers, the program has been known for its big, powerful offensive lines that are relied on to create holes for a potent rushing attack. Alvarez is no longer head coach, but the tradition continues.
Wisconsin has had six offensive linemen drafted in the first round of the National Football League draft over the last 15 years, including three since 2011. Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas was drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft. In fact, 247Sports.com ranks the Badgers as the top college program for producing offensive linemen ready for the NFL.
“Nowadays, its tradition,” Deiter said. “It's expected. “We have a really good O-line coach He came in with Coach Andersen. He understands the tradition and he's going to keep it going.”
Deiter earned nearly every accolade for an offensive lineman while at Genoa. He was an All-Ohioan as a senior and was named the Associated Press' District IV Lineman of the Year and the Great Lakes Region Lineman of the Year. Dieter was also a first team All-Northern Buckeye Conference selection as a junior and senior on both the offensive and defensive lines.
A three-year letter winner, Deiter helped the Comets win two Northern Buckeye Conference titles and advance to the playoffs three times.
One of his former teammates, Logan Scott, who recently committed to play quarterback at NCAA Division III Defiance College, praises Deiter for protecting his blind side when he was in the pocket.
“I know that every time I line up, I don't have to worry about my backside,” Scott said. “I know that on third-and-2, fourth-and-2, I say, 'We are coming your way.' He just nods and I know he's going to get the block. He's a great football player and he'd do anything for the team. Michael's been one of my best friends since seventh grade. I wouldn't want anyone else there.”
Scott also credits Deiter with doing a great job on the defensive line for the Comets.
“He's a big body, has great footwork on both sides of the ball and his leadership on the defensive line was important,” Scott said. “Everyone was behind him and they knew he was making the right read, they could follow. If you have one guy like him, you center your defense around him. The fact that he knew what the guy across the line was going to do was a huge advantage.”
Deiter talked about what he does to gain a competitive edge on his opponents.
“It's basically comes down to film,” he said. “I watch as much film as I can. You pay attention to how the defense lines up – notice something out of the ordinary, you've got to look at stuff like that. It's not just about the play you run.”
He also credits former Genoa coaches Tim Spiess and Mike Vicars for instilling good football ideals.
“They never let up on me,” Deiter said. “They were always hard on me, making me get better. Coach Spiess is really good at teaching me things – he taught me the smarts of the game, what to look for and stuff like that, and obviously, he and Coach Vicars created a good base for football.”