Overview: Michael Mudoh was a senior who started off playing cornerback before making the transition to safety for the University of Tulsa. He led his team in tackles the last three years by have multiple years exceeding 110+ tackles. He is a thumper — a smart, physical player who can play multiple positions on defense. During his career, he had 406 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 6 tackles for loss, 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions as a 3 year starter.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael, during which time he told me more about his background, his personality and his overall love for football.
Christa: For the people who do not know your story, how did you wind up choosing University of Tulsa?
MM: I had some of them offered from the Power 5 Conferences. I took my time to commit to the school after my senior year. Some teams pulled their scholarships. I didn’t know whom to pick after my senior year. Tulsa didn’t reach out because I had bigger schools. About a week before signing day, Tulsa reached out to me. Their DB coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa wanted to get me on a visit. I loved the place, facilities and academics. I realized this is where I wanted to go.
C: What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
MM: I tackle very well. There are only a few times you see me miss a tackle. My instincts and play recognition are very good. I dissect plays quickly; even before LB’s a lot of the times. I led the team in tackles the last three years. I have great football IQ. I am a quiet guy off the field and I lead more by example. But on the field, I lead with my play and I am very vocal. As far as weakness, I’m constantly improving my man-to-man coverage. I played some man to man my first few years. We played a lot of zone the last two years. On third down, I moved to nickel and covered the slot. I blitz often on third downs. They used me in a lot of different ways my senior year. I am also working on my ball skills.
C: What separates you from the other players at your position?
MM: My combination of speed and strength. Not many safeties are as strong and fast like me. I am stronger and faster than most safeties. My work ethic is impeccable. I can’t stress it enough. I am always working.
C:Which current or former NFL player do you think you resemble and why?
MM: I would compare myself to Earl Thomas. He is a tremendous safety. He is about 5’9 or 5’10 at 200 pounds. He is always around the ball. He has good speed and dissects plays fast. The defense looks up to him. This is how I am. I am running full speed. I am a sideline-to-sideline kind of player. Earl doesn’t miss any games. I also have great durability. I never missed a game.
C: Who is the toughest player you’ve ever faced in your college career?
MM: Baker Mayfield is a pretty good QB. He has great athletic ability and a great arm. Paxton Lynch is good. Bortles was good. Breshad Perriman was pretty fast. Sterling Shepard was very quick.
C: How do you match up against the taller more physical wide receivers?
MM: There’s not too many wide receivers more physical than me. When matched up against those guys, it’s a test to see who is more physical and majority of the time, I’ll win that battle at the line or when the ball is in the air. Height of a receiver has never scared me and it won’t scare me at the next level. I’m up for the challenge.
C: If an NFL scout were to walk up to you and give you ten seconds to sell yourself, what would you say?
MM: In the last 3 season, you won’t find a safety more productive than me. 400+ tackles as a 3 year starter. I am an asset to your team with great work ethic and good character so you won’t ever have to worry about me devaluing the team or the league’s name.
C: How do you prepare for game day? Do you have any game day rituals?
MM: I’m usually just listening to Christian rap or Christian worship music in my headphones. I’m pretty quiet until I stepped football out of the locker room; the switch is like night and day. And a lot of prayer; I pray a lot during game day because I realize how grateful I am I won’t be in the position I am without God; so I rely totally on him on game days.
C: What is the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you in your college career?
MM: After my redshirt year, I wasn’t sure if football was for me. I just didn’t enjoy the game as I once did. I wasn’t sure I was capable of playing at that level… My head coach at that time, Bill Blankenship, told me that “there is a reason why God gave you the incredible and rare athletic abilities you have. Use it.” That stuck with me.
C: What was your favorite moment/play at University of Tulsa?
MM: My redshirt freshman year when we won the Conference Championship. We finished in the top 25 in the nation. We beat a Big 12 school in the bowl game. I forced a fumble and recovered a fumble on the kickoff. It was the best record in school history. We went 11-3. My redshirt freshman year was awesome.
Locker Room Update would like to thank Michael Mudoh for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his journey as an NFL 2016 draft prospect.
You can check out his highlights here
Follow him on Twitter: @IAmMudoh