Not many people jumped off of a truck onto sheep and rode them as a kid, but that’s exactly what Cole Mickel, who recently signed with BYU football, did.
Mickel attributes his strong work ethic to growing up on a ranch and raising sheep.
“If I’m not doing football, I’m doing something with the ranch and stuff, and so it’s taught me to not just sit around,” Mickel said. “There’s always something to be done, that’s why I’m not one that’ll just sit inside. And I think that’s because of having the career that my family has.”
Raising sheep has given Mickel other qualities that served him well on and off the football field.
“With sheep, you know, it’s hard work,” said Rhett Bird, NS head football coach. “You’re dedicated to it, and that’s what we got out of Cole for four years when he was here. I know with sheep, too, you don’t take any days off. You gotta feed them every day. And that was Cole’s mentality throughout the last four years. No days off. He put every ounce of effort into who he became.”
Mickel’s hard work paid off when he obtained a full ride scholarship to SUU. However, after some thought, he declined the offer and instead chose to go to BYU as a preferred walk-on after some thought. His family is excited with his choice.
“I love that he’ll take that chance,” said Matt Mickel, Cole’s father. “There is no guarantee at BYU and he was guaranteed down there (SUU), so it took a lot of courage to pull that trigger.”
Mickel has a goal, though: to be on scholarship by his sophomore season. And he knows how to obtain his goal.
“I’m always watching like different people who started out as preferred walk-ons and stuff and what it’s taken for them to get there,” Mickel said. “And honestly, it’s just got to be your only focus and it’s gotta be the only thing that you want. And hard work is honestly it. You‘ve gotta prove to the coaches and everybody up there that you’re the hardest worker on the team and that’s what’s going to get you a scholarship.”
His family and his team at NS believe that it is possible for him to obtain his goal, and that he will do well at the college level.
“I’ve got all the faith in the world in Cole,” Matt said. “And I know he can accomplish anything he wants to so I fully envision him being a starter eventually and maybe not the first year because it takes time, but I fully see him being a big part of that team.”
Although it won’t happen overnight, having to start over and work his way up on a team doesn’t bother Mickel much.
“I was a big part of the team, and obviously now I’m starting at the bottom again,” Mickel said. “That kind of scares me a little bit, but I’m not too worried about it, just because I feel like I know how to work hard enough that I can get back to the top again. That’s honestly what kind of excites me.”
But he is more than just a hard worker. He has several qualities that will help him at BYU and BYU’s football program. One of these is his leadership.
“He was a great example on and off the football field,” Bird said. “And he wasn’t scared to call anyone out. He made sure he held everyone accountable and that’s what a good leader does.”
Mickel will switch positions when he goes to play for BYU. He’ll switch from outside linebacker, which he played in high school, to D-end.
Mickel plans to attend BYU after serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and will begin his freshman season in 2024.