10/22/2015 1:00 PM
Get to Know Barnstormers DB, Mike Early
Iowa Barnstormers defensive back Mike Early didn’t always know that football was his passion. Now that he has been signed to the Iowa Barnstormers training camp roster, he has never been more excited to continue doing what he loves most.
Mike Early began playing football around age five, but spent a majority of his youth aspiring to pursue basketball. It was not until junior high that Early transitioned to focusing his long-term efforts on football.
“Everyone was always a lot taller than me. I was a late bloomer, but I was always one of the most athletic,” recalled Early. “One of my AAU coaches told me that I might need to go play football because I was fast, could jump, and was athletic. My dad and mom let me do it and that’s when I fell in love.”
Early continued to play basketball, but got serious about his football career during his junior and senior years of high school. Collegiately, he signed on to play football with the University of Central Arkansas, but ended up at the University of Arkansas – Monticello due to an adjustment in UCA’s football department.
“I signed with Central Arkansas, but they had a coaching change. The coach who recruited me went to the University of (Arkansas) Monticello and I decided to follow him. You know, be loyal to him because he was giving me the chance to play college football.”
Early is currently finishing his final undergraduate courses at UAM and will receive a degree in criminal justice in December. Training, visiting friends and family, and enrolling in graduate school are all on his list to accomplish prior to reporting to Des Moines in February. During the season, Early plans to focus on the Barnstormers (and an IFL championship title) while taking online classes toward his Master’s Degree.
Learn more about Early in the Q & A below:
What are you goals for 2016?
“The ring. The wins and the ring. I want to get on that winning track and compete for the championship. Individual goals, you always have to set those for yourself too. That would be to be one of the best defensive backs in the League.”
What is your leadership style?
“I am not really a vocal leader, I show by example. I lead by giving 100%. If I am looking from the sideline and see someone I can help, I would rather talk to them or show them one-on-one what they can do to improve.”
What is your greatest football moment?
“The first game of my senior year (in college), when we played ECU. It was the first game that my family got to come watch me play. My son, my mom, my dad, my brother and sister. I broke several school records. It was emotional for me and my family since it’d been a while since they had watched me play. It was the perfect day.”
Who is your football role model?
“I probably have a few. Tyrann Mathieu who plays for the Arizona Cardinals, we grew up together. He’s my cousin. We have that bond and competitive edge to always push one another.”
“Being from a smaller school, a lot of people I played with didn’t get a lot of exposure. Rodney Edmiston and Demarcus Robinson were two pretty good players at Monticello. I look up to them because of the brotherhood that we had. There was no type of jealousy, but they pushed me to be the best. They wanted the best for me, so I felt like I could look up to them. ”
Who is your biggest fan?
“My brother, Alcide. No matter what, he’s always going to be there. Rain, sleet, hail, or snow. If I have a bad game, he’s going to be my biggest critic. If I have a good game he’ll be my biggest fan, but still tell me what I could do better.”
What does your off-season entail?
“School. I’m getting ready to graduate in December with a degree in criminal justice. I am still working out every day with my person trainer. I’m spending a lot of time with my friends and family before I leave to head out there."
What other positions have you played?
“I’ve played receiver a number of times. Quarterback, a little. I played linebacker once, which I didn’t really like.”
If you could play any other sport, what would it be?
“Basketball. It really was my first love. I used to hate football because I didn’t like the concept of getting hit.”
What are your favorite professional team(s)?
“Baseball I am a huge Yankees fan. I was a big fan of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Basketball, I don’t really have a team, just LeBron James. If I had to choose, I would say the (New Orleans) Pelicans. My favorite NFL team is the Patriots, but I also root for the Saints.”
What are your hobbies?
“I really still like to play basketball. Fishing. I love fishing. My college is out here in the country and I had to adapt a little. One thing they do here is fishing and I really fell in love with that. The Xbox is huge in my life. I’m a big gamer. Madden and NBA2k.”
The Iowa Barnstormers open their 2016 season against the Green Bay Blizzard at home on Friday, February 26th. Kickoff is set for 7:05pm CST at Wells Fargo Arena. Season Tickets are available now for as low as $80 per seat. Call the Iowa Barnstormers front office at (515) 633-2255 or visit www.theiowabarnstormers.com for more information.