Deacon Spotlight: Mike Olson

Mike Olson was just a junior in high school when he committed to playing for Wake Forest, choosing the Deacs over a number of other options both in-state and otherwise. Now a red-shirt sophomore, he discussed how his responsibilities have changed and why he considers himself to be "seven for seven."


"At first I was really taking hard to UVA and took a couple of visits there," the Ashburn, VA native said. "I also took a visit to NC State, then to Syracuse; I was talking to them hard too.

"After my Wake visit I was supposed to go to BC, but once I got offered by Wake I committed. I committed really early, so I didn't really have too long of a recruitment process - probably early to mid-spring my junior year of high school."

Olson discussed his decision to forgo in-state options and what factors he had to overcome to do so.

"I just liked the idea of being somewhere else - it made the idea of it seem a lot more important," he explained. "My parents definitely wanted me to stay close, but actually traveling outside of my state made the experience a lot different."

Because of his position and certain coach turnover, the 6-3, 230-pound athlete has gotten to know a wide variety of the staff.

"At the time of my commitment my recruiters were Coach Lambert and Coach Billings," he said. "I've actually had a different coach every year.

"My first year I had Coach Lambert, then Coach Russ, and now Coach Knorr. I'll have him again this season for the second year, which is the longest time I've been with one coach. It's been different, but I'm cool with all of the coaches."

Olson continued with his overall feelings on Wake.

"I picked Wake because it's smaller, and if you're a standout you get that exposure," he stated. "When I met some of the guys coming in I really liked them and the coaches; they're just down-to-earth, and I think it's because it's smaller. I'm all about down-to-earth, and all about the team.

"What I don't like about the hype around bigger schools is how fake they talk you; it's so manufactured. Wake is a lot more real; you can really see it up close."

Olson has been a key team contributor in hosting visiting recruits, and has a self-proclaimed record in bringing in commitments.

"I'm seven-for-seven on my visitors, so I don't want to jinx it," he said.

"Mike Campanaro and I are kind of designated hosts, so I like to take ownership of some of the recruits," he joked.

"I was Steve Donatell's host and showed him around," he said of the 2012 quarterback commitment.

Olson also hosted 2011 Sherman Ragland and 2010 Duke Mosby, among others.

The inside linebacker shared his advice for guys learning the recruitment game.

"Just do what you want to do; that's eventually what it comes down to," he said. "My parents were pulling me a couple of different directions, but at the end of the day it's your decision.

"After all of the hype of recruiting is gone and you're on your own, the decision you made is solely up to you. It can be a lonely thing at the very end if you make the wrong decision, and kids can get pulled different ways from coaches and family."

Olson shared some forecasts for players to watch in the upcoming season.

"I think with Kevin Johnson coming back, people should definitely look out for him," he said. "It's Joey Ehrmann's last year, so I think he's definitely going to step up and surprise some people.

"Mike Campanaro has been kind of spotty because of his hamstring injury, but when he's healthy I feel like he's pretty much the go-to guy. I think there's also a good chance for our O-line. There's a lot of young and new guys to step up."

Olson discussed growing with the team and the responsibility that comes with it.

"I'm just excited because now it's finally kind of our team," he said. "After being a younger guy for the past two or three years, now you get to see that everything's coming together because of your class, and the one above and below it. If you fail or if you win, it's because of you; your group, your guys. It's better to know that then to think, "We could be winning if we were older". Now we're the older guys, and it is going to be really cool to see."

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