FREMONT – Nicholas Mayle is betting on himself.
The Fremont Ross senior could have continued his football career at a lower level school. He had interest from Sienna Heights, Lake Erie College and Ashland University, among others.
But Mayle wants to see if he can play at the highest level. Which is why, Friday, he signed a Division I National Letter of Intent to accept an offer as a preferred walk-on at the University of Akron.
“Since I was a kid, its been the biggest goal, to go play against Division I, the biggest schools, to go on TV and play against the big boys,” Mayle said. “It’s always been my dream to play at the highest division and it was the best opportunity to do that.”
As a defensive end, the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder was a key member of the Little Giants’ defensive front – the backbone of the team in 2019. The plan at Akron is to suit up as an outside linebacker. But Mayle knows, as a preferred walk-on, nothing will be given to him.
“It’s kind of like starting all over again, like being thrown back to freshman year where you step out and everyone already has a spot and nobody knows who you are,” Mayle said. :I think I like it that way, to have to earn a spot, earn a role, earn playing time, to become a leader. Start all over again.”
Ross head coach Chad Long said the road to Saturdays will be a long one for Mayle, but the Zips will get a high-character player who will do whatever it takes to earn his place.
“He’s a hard-working kid,” Long said. “He’ll give you all he has. He’s a diamond in the rough. He’s a great character of a kid, a great student-athlete. But he’s going to have to polish up a lot to be on a football field in Saturdays at Akron.”
Mayle is a two-time TRAC honorable mention and a three-time TRAC all-academic honoree and is weighing his options about what to study, possibly psychology or English.
“But, of course, that is the most important thing for me, is the academic part of it,” Mayle said.