Michael Scherer’s final season in black and gold ended too soon. An ACL injury ended his senior campaign, but the stats and film are still there for the NFL to see. His career at Mizzou reads: 266 tackles, 17 TFLs, 1 INT, and 2 FF. I had the chance to sit down with Scherer and ask about his rehab, his upcoming Pro Day, and his career at Mizzou. Read the full interview below.
Mitch Hill: How is your Rehab Going? I saw you post your progress on Instagram. Could you share with us what that’s been like?
Michael Scherer: Awesome. In my mind I couldn’t imagine being this far along after only 4 months, really it’s been 4 months and a week. I can (pretty much) do everything again. I’m doing Linebacker drills, I’m cutting, I’m running, I’m jumping, I can do everything, but you just have to take it day by day. Mondays you feel great because you took the weekend off, you do a whole bunch. You run, you broad jump, you practice your 40, you lift as much as you can because your fresh and then Tuesday you don’t feel as great and you say “what do I do now?” There is no proven path about how to get back from an ACL in 4 and a half months. Some days can be frustrating, some days can be awesome. There have been days I have cried because things didn’t go so well and there are days where I sit back and cry because I can’t believe what I did that day. I’m gonna be fine. It’s been unreal so far.
Hill: With all of that, what has been the hardest part of the rehab process? Cutting? Jumping? Or something else?
Scherer: When you do something for the first time, to me, it’s like standing on the edge of a building and jumping off. That’s what it seems like. One of the first things you do is you have to learn how to land again, basically, and learn that your body can take it. An example is that I was on a box that was only 6 inches and it may have taken me 5 minutes to trust myself to just step off this little box. And then there is running for the first time and getting in a 40 stance and getting out for the first time. You get down there and you don’t know what’s going to happen. In your head, you have no clue and then you do it and in my head for the first time I was like “I can actually do this. Wow. There may be a little pain but it works, my leg works again.” Once I had that in my head (some days I have to reset my mind) but once that’s in my head I do something one time and I see that I am alive and that my leg is still there, then I am good to go. The hardest part is just not getting frustrated. You have to remember that a lot of the people you’re training with didn’t tear their ACL. That’s what I am comparing myself to. I want to be the best, so if I’m not the best, it isn’t always the best day. You have to tell your mind to be realistic with where you are and that’s not always easy.
Hill: So it’s really a mind thing mostly and playing mind games?
Scherer: Yeah, a lot of the stuff is just in your head. But you just can’t get frustrated. You have to keep moving forward no matter what happens. Some days that is really hard. Some days something happens that’s not great and you just want to go home. This week is a week where we are deciding what I am doing at Pro Day. On one day, something will be awesome and something not great at all and maybe I need to get a little better before I do this and that bothers me a lot, but there is nothing I can do. I have to realize I am only four months out. I shouldn’t be able to be doing what I am doing. There’s a lot going on in your head.
Hill: With your injury, you weren’t able to get go to the Senior Bowl and other showcase events. You have your Pro Day next Thursday. What are other ways you use to showcase your talents and get that exposure for the next level?
Scherer: I have three years of, or two and half really, good years of film in the SEC. So I have that. The reason why I am able to still be doing this is because of that film. They see that and now what I have to do is prove that I am getting better and that I am on a fast path to getting better. I need to prove I am who I was pre-injury. They need to know that this isn’t something that is going to stop me. I think with Pro Day, just going out there and participating and being able to step on the field and compete at something, it will be exactly 4 and a half months on that day, that is going to say a lot. After, I’ll meet with the teams that are interested and we’ll go from there. It’s a good thing for me that I can, you know, go sit in a classroom and talk football. I can talk football all day long. It doesn’t matter what you throw at me, so that will help a lot.
Hill: I saw that you signed with an agent. Can you take us through what that process was like?
Scherer: Yeah, Harold Lewis. So you start getting interests from agents early. Some will try to find your Facebook or your Twitter or whatever, and the funny thing about it is that what you learn about agents is that the guys that do that are not the right person or the right choice. What it came down to is when you’re done, you get approached by agents and you want it to be for yourself. This is about your future. You have conversations with them, you feel out what kind of person they are and very quickly I narrowed it down to a few people. I don’t like dealing with this stuff so my dad was very active in the process, so that’s what he did. He loved doing it and I didn’t that much. Out of nowhere really, late in the process, he says “Hey, I am hearing things about this Harold Lewis guy. Have you heard anything from him?” Me being the person who doesn’t like it and really blew it all off, at the time, I was really just wishing I had a friend who was good at this and could do it, that would’ve been great. So we start setting longer meetings up with people. I had some family, friends, people close to me that knew Harold Lewis. Tyler Gabbert (who he adds he has been friends with for awhile) reached out to me and said that we should meet with him and Harold Lewis. So we decided to set up a meeting with them. That meeting was 4 hours. I loved Harold. After that, him and Tyler were the guys I wanted. I wanted someone who wasn’t selling me sunshine and rainbows, I wanted someone who would tell me the truth and someone I knew would fight for me when it comes down to it. That’s what he is. He gets things done and that’s kind of what it came down too, I knew he was going to do everything he can do to get it done for me. He believed in me and that was one of the biggest things. Everyone I talked to, the people he represents, all said that he works relentlessly for you and that’s all I needed to hear. I told Harold that he had to meet my mom, but once he passed that test, then it was a done deal. So the whole family went out to meet him and that’s when we got it done.
Hill: What is his role in reaching out to NFL Scouts and increasing your exposure?
Scherer: It goes a bit of both ways. I wanted an agent that scouts actually talk too. When my dad and I first met with him he was in the middle of negotiating two different deals for clients so I got to see him working with GMs on the phones. I got to see him dealing, not only with the GMs, but those players parents were calling him and it was good to kind of see that in action. When he talks, people listen, basically. So that was a reason why I really liked him. He goes to the Senior Bowl, he goes to the combine and meets with all the teams. He talks to teams about me and shows teams who I am. It has been nothing but great stuff back from the people he has talked too. There is a step we have to cross and that is Pro Day and showing those teams that I am getting there. After that, I may get brought in by teams to go workout at their facility or they may come here (Mizzou). He helps with all of that, but we have to make that next step at Pro Day next week.
Hill: With an eye on the NFL, what do you think is the biggest adjustment you need to make in order to reach that next step?
Scherer: Honestly, I think it’s very mental. I think it’s knowing you belong. Once you can get to that point, it just becomes football again. Once you can mentally get to that point that you know you belong, you’re just playing again. Same thing as it is in college. Guys are a little better, but guys are still big here in college. Last time I checked, Arkansas had the biggest Offensive Line in football, college or pro, a few years back. It’s just knowing you belong, knowing you can play, and trusting in yourself.
Hill: Switching to more Mizzou centric questions, do you still keep in touch with former Mizzou players that are in the NFL like Kentrell Brothers or Markus Golden? What kind of advice do they give you?
Scherer: Yeah we talk and they help a lot. With Kentrell and Markus, the greatest thing they have done is give me that confidence. The “yeah you can play.” And with Kentrell being a Linebacker, we’ve talked about a lot of things and we have been training a bit together since he is in town right now. And Markus is the nicest person in the whole world. He’s basically been a big brother to me during our time playing together and after but when it was my first year really playing, he was the one that made me feel like I belonged out on the field. Me and him are great friends and we text a lot and he had a good game one week and we were texting about it and he texted me “Keep goin hard, for real you can play and be elite in this league. I love you and I can’t wait to see you soon.” So I mean, that speaks volumes about who he is and our relationship. That’s all you need to know about him. He’s incredible. He had this thing of writing down his goals and stats down before the season he would hit them. There was no other option and when scouts were saying he had short arms, they didn’t see that drive. He never quits and just him telling me to do the same is huge for me.
Hill: With you and Coach Odom, you seemed to develop a quick bond. He said that if his kids grew up to be like you, I’m paraphrasing, but that he would see that as a major success. With a Head Coach saying that, it’s a huge compliment. What is your relationship like with Coach Odom?
Scherer: The easiest way to sum it up is that I went to church on Sunday and I saw the Odoms and I went and said hi and I sat with them during church, then we went to lunch, and it’s basically like being apart of his family. The great thing about Coach Odom is that he listens. When he came in and coached me and Kentrell his first year, he listened. He formed the defense around what we were good at. He took all of those pieces and said this is what we are going to be best at. And that’s why the defense was so good his first year here. You would run through a brick wall for him. We still had a top 5 defense two years ago when we didn’t have that great of a season. No matter what type of situation we were in, he would say he didn’t care, that we were getting off the field. It was that type of attitude that made everyone respect him so much. And with him being a Mizzou Linebacker and having so many similarities with what he did, we just connected.
Hill: So would you say everything is in good hands with him at the top?
Scherer: Oh yeah. The thing is about him that I can’t believe at times, I’m going to say it again, he actually listens. A lot of people at the top will ask people how they feel about this or that but it can go in one ear and out the other. For example, when we were at lunch the other day we had a conversation about something and I thought it was a good conversation but it was going by the wayside. But I woke up to a text Monday morning at 6 AM and he was thinking about our conversation and wanted to know more about it and talk more about it. He really does listen to people. That’s a reason why he’s going to be great and they (Mizzou Football) are going to be great.
Hill: The defense is losing a lot of names this year. You, Charles Harris, Newsome, Penton, and others. Those are NFL names. Who do you think is going to be the person that Mizzou fans are going to see next year and see him as that “next one?”
Scherer: There’s a lot. I think with that team on defense, Terry (Beckner) and Markell (Utsey) are just coming back from injury but they will be scary. They’re doing drills, practicing and competing and they’re like me. They’re going to be fine. We also had a freshman corner last year, DeMarkus Acy, he’s going to be a freak. Marcell Frazier… there is something about D Linemen around here that are a little nuts in the head, they do pretty well I might add, but he looks like several of them did. He works like them, acts like them, and practices like them. I think he is going to be very good. There’s some new Linebackers, pretty much all of them, and they can be really good. Odom’s defense, when done properly, is pretty darn good. To be honest, though, we have the deepest, a crazy deep, Safety Room. Cam Hilton and Perkins, those guys have a load of talent. And then you have someone who has started for a year and a half and is a freak athlete in Anthony Sherrils, Thomas Wilson, and you have a pretty darn good transfer from K State in Kaleb Prewitt, I mean they’re deep. When you have all of those guys that are that good and they’re competing everyday, it just makes everyone much better.
Hill: What is one thing you’ll take away from your time at Mizzou?
Scherer: It’s all about the people you meet. It’s awesome playing on Faurot in front of all of those people, but that’s like 3 hours on a Saturday. There’s a lot more to it. It’s tough. You need good people around you to keep you sane, especially when things aren’t going well. Like I said, it’s 3 hours on a Saturday for about 6 months out of the year. I have met so many people that have changed my life in so many different ways. That’s what I’ll take the most for sure.
Hill: What is your favorite memory/moment about Mizzou Football?
Scherer: It has to be when we beat Arkansas here to win our second SEC East title. That has to be my favorite moment.
When asked who Scherer watches the most in the league, he said, without hesitation, Luke Kuechly. He added when you play football, you watch film on the people that are great at your position and go try to do what they do rather than “look up” to someone.
Scherer’s rehab continues and he is on pace to participate in Mizzou’s Pro Day on Thursday, March 23.
We will have you covered when it comes to Scherer’s Pro Day as well as the other former Mizzou Football players right here on KTGR.com
You can follow me on Twitter @Mhill_ to keep in touch and let me know what your thoughts are on Scherer and Mizzou Football.