Ray Michel carried a plastic, one-gallon jug filled with water from his home to Fort Myers High at least three times a week over the summer.Holding an empty jug upon arriving at the weight room, he would refill it before proceeding to bench press up to 340 pounds, squat up to 440 pounds or sprint around the Edison Stadium track.”You’ve got to stay hydrated, man,” Michel said.
Michel, a 5-foot-10, 220-pound linebacker, won the Green Wave’s “headhunter” award last season after compiling 97 tackles — three short of his goal, which he has since raised. He also recovered four fumbles and had seven sacks.”I want to get more than 110 tackles,” Michel said.
Former Green Wave linebacker D.J. Brady broke the 100-tackle mark during Michel’s freshman and sophomore years.”He won the headhunter award two years in a row,” Michel said of Brady, who is now a student at the University of Florida. “I’m trying to match what he did.”Michel would walk from his home to the school, which is about a mile away. He returned home, however, at a faster pace.
“We jog back,” Michel said. “We don’t walk back.””He’s a tireless worker,” Fort Myers coach Sam Sirianni Jr. said. “He leaves no stone unturned in terms of work ethic. His motor’s always running whenever he’s on the field.”
That motor, Sirianni Jr. said, comes to a screeching halt once Michel steps off the field.When the Green Wave opened last season with a 47-17 loss to Naples, five Fort Myers players were approached to comment on the game. The first four players said they didn’t want to be interviewed.Michel, however, didn’t mind talking about the loss.
“He’s a super kid off the field,” Sirianni Jr. said. “He’s mild-mannered. Everybody likes him. He’s very personable.”It’s like he turns a switch on when he gets on the field. As a linebacker, he has that nasty mentality that you have to have on the field.”
Michel will bolster a Green Wave defense that gave up an average of 20 points per game last season. He will be helped by a variety of players, including fellow linebacker Richard Renner, a senior; senior defensive backs Darvis McBride and Deon Hubert; and junior defensive back Tyce Havens, among others.”I think we can go all the way,” Michel said. “We just have to have the mindset that we can do it.”
daniel barry/special to the News-Press* Linebacker Ray Michel runs a drill during a recent practice at Fort Myers High School.