On my mark, get set, go.
As hard as it is to believe, we are now officially under 100 days until kickoff in the Jawja Dome and that means the arduous task of highlighting one roster spot per day until September 3rd has begun. It's a labor of love, really. Exhausting, sometimes aggravating love (much like marriage).
We've got 99 days until kickoff...so today we'll be taking a look at number 99 on the Bronco roster—Michael Atkinson.
#99, Michael Atkinson, Junior, DT
Weight: 320 lbs. (150 Kg)
High School: Catholic Central HS, Windsor, Ontario
How'd he get to The Blue™?
Atkinson's recruiting was a happy accident. Bronco coaches visited his alma mater to offer teammate Tyrone Crawford a scholly and couldn't help but notice the behemoth Atkinson, who had been playing fullback. Crawford went the JC route for 2 years to get his academic ducks in a row and Atkinson crossed the border right away. Luckily, in the end, we wound up with both.
(given recent "incidents") Canucklehead
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
After redshirting in 2008, named the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. Played in nine games in 2009, and registered a pass breakup and TFL. Had 10 tackles (2.5 for loss), a pass breakup, and a sack in 2010.
I would have gone with this:
...but then there was that small matter of being suspended indefinitely after just 4 games last year. Decisions, decisions.
I sincerely hope that this is Atkinson's year. After garnering scout team player of the year honors during his redshirt season, it looked like all upside for the Canadian bowling ball, but his freshman year started off with a whimper after a DUI got him the boot for 5 games and an injury limited him in the rest. Then, last season, right about the time the Idaho Statesman was announcing that Big Mike had finally arrived, he was unceremoniously suspended for the remainder of the season. Frankly, the fact that he's still on the team speaks to the benevolence of Coach Pete...but make not mistake—one more slip-up and Atkinson is as good as gone.
So, will Atkinson keep his nose clean this year and become an impact performer for the Broncos? Well, he's off to a good start and the staff no doubt has him on a short, sturdy leash. The fact that Atkinson beat his high school teammate Tyrone Crawford here by two years but has yet to put up the numbers Tyrone did in his one season with the Broncos is a bit unsettling. The potential for Atkinson is sky-high...he just hasn't fully invested in the program yet. Look for him to be solid this year in reserve duty—he won't be the first guy in there with Billy Winn and Chase Baker a lock for the starting rotation...but he should supplement the two nicely, probably flanked by the equally girthy Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, and put up some solid numbers. Before he was suspended last season he had 10 tackles, a sack, a pass break-up, and 2.5 tackles for loss. Extrapolate that out through 12 or 13 games and he could land himself on an all-conference team. Our fingers are firmly crossed.
Completely made up fact
Atkinson got the nickname "Bacon" not because of his size or even his Canadian background. He received the nickname because of his fondness for the films Tremors, Footloose, and White Water Summer.