By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
Coming off a junior season as a leader on one of the top defenses in District 4, Mifflinburg linebacker Michael Wiand found himself in one of the worse situations for a scholastic athlete.
Wiand suffered a broken left fibula that cost him his senior football season and, along with it, some of the colleges that had been interested in the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, who started for three seasons on the gridiron.
“I had a couple of I-AA offers, but (once the injury happened), they weren’t sure any more,” Wiand said.
However, one school remained interested in the Mifflinburg standout and that’s why Wiand has elected to “run-on” at Penn State University.
“Penn State stuck with me since June and made sure my injury wasn’t going to affect my play,” Wiand said. “I felt the support was there.”
Wiand will join two other local players as run-ons for the Nittany Lions — Lewisburg linebacker Brandon Smith and Warrior Run offensive lineman Austin Fiedler.
“It’s really nice (for all of us to go to Penn State),” Wiand said. “I did the (football) camp circuit over the summer so I know some of the other guys (in the recruiting class) as well.”
Both Smith and Fiedler mentioned the family atmosphere that second-year coach Bill O’Brien is building in State College, and Wiand was quick to echo those comments.
“It’s really a big family up there,” Wiand said. “It’s a great place to be.”
Another big factor for Wiand is Penn State offers his major.
“It has my major in exercise science which is great,” Wiand said. “Football is going to end some sometime so you have to have a job.”
Wiand says the Nittany Lion coaching staff plans to have him stay at linebacker. It’s just depends on how much he continues to grow.
“They definitely want to use me as linebacker. They aren’t sure whether it’s going to be inside (linebacker) or outside (linebacker),” Wiand said. “They aren’t sure how much I’ll grow.”
Despite being 6-foot-1, the Nittany Lions and Wiand are pretty sure he isn’t done growing.
“My parents and grandparents are pretty tall, so they think I’m going to grow a couple of inches,” Wiand said. “We are late bloomers.”