STILLWATER, Okla. — Michael Scott is both feared and loved.
On the field, the Oklahoma State defensive end is a force to be reckoned with, imposing his will on offensive linemen and enemy ballcarriers.
Off the field, he is anything but scary. A big smile crosses his face whether he is joking with teammates, playing with his daughter or even talking to media.
Scott embraces every moment he can, putting his heart and soul into any task at hand. He knows he has been given a special gift, and at OSU, he has made the most of a second chance he wouldn’t have thought possible only a few years ago.
Stillwater might seem like a small town to many Cowboy football players when they come to Payne County, but to Scott, it was a metropolis compared to Athens, Texas.
There, Scott attended Trinity Valley Community College. It was his second stop of a college career that began on the campus of Southern Methodist University in his hometown of Dallas.
Safe to say, Athens was no Dallas.
“We would play card games and dominoes,” Scott said. “We would sometimes go see a movie, besides that there is nothing to do in Athens, Texas.”
With roommate Cassius Grady, who now attends Texas-San Antonio, Scott used his free time to instead work on his craft. Playing for the Cardinals and coach Brad Smiley, he recorded 25 tackles and four sacks.
Scott was a Division I talent at the junior college level just like he was coming out of Nimitz High School in Irving, but a disagreement with his position coach at SMU led to him transferring to TVCC.
“(SMU) decided to let me go,” Scott said. “I ended up choosing Trinity Valley. Coach Smiley is a great coach and I like him a lot. He is a real country fella. I went there and did my year and a half. I learned a lot there about perseverance and grinding, because it is not a DI school. To me, you were lower than high school level because there are probably four good helmets, two good shoulderpads and you got to buy your own cleats.”
At SMU, Scott had played with his twin brother, Delontae, but going to TVCC meant he had to start again on his own. It turned out to be the best thing for him as Scott grew up a lot during his time in Athens. There, he had to prove himself all over again while raising a family.
He and his high school sweetheart-turned-wife, Emma Kimiko Scott, have a daughter, Macie Nicole Faith, who Mike realized he had to provide for.
“I love her so much. As far as learning, I just find out how to be more responsible. I can’t go out and do certain things other kids do,” Scott said. “I can’t go party. Even if she isn’t here, I wouldn’t do that. I just remind myself to get my schoolwork done first, so I can spend time with her, got to knock out my film work because if she is around, she will make sure she distracts me. Having her throughout this whole time has helped me be more committed.”
Scott’s drive to be better at TVCC paid off as he did eventually get noticed, by none other than OSU defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements. The longtime Cowboy coach who has churned out numerous NFL-quality players in a conference known more for offense said he loved what the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder brought to the table.
Scott jumped at the chance to come to OSU and wear the orange and black.
“I remember thinking that this place is wonderful. I never thought I would be in a place like this. I am grateful to even be here,” Scott said. “You see greatness looking around here. Being coached by Mike Gundy, which everyone makes jokes of and I had never met him, but being here I can see he is a great coach. They teach us discipline and toughness. Just being a man, basically. I am just blessed to be here.”
Last season, in his first year with the Cowboys, he logged three sacks and 10 tackles, while also blocking a field goal against Missouri in the Liberty Bowl.
This year, Scott is one of the oldest on the defensive line as a 22-year-old redshirt senior, but because of his college journey, he needed some time to acclimate along with the rest of an extremely inexperience D-Line.
“I just tell them we are all the same,” Scott said. “Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I’m different. We are all kids playing football like we have been doing our whole life so let’s not complicate everything with classification. I just advise on things like, ‘You might not want to do that but you might want to do this.’ Just staying communicative.”
Through six games, Scott isn’t performing as well as he would like to this year with only five tackles and two quarterback hurries, but if the team is winning, he understands that is the main goal.
“Personally, I really don’t like my play right now, but it isn’t just about me, it’s about the team,” Scott said. “As long as we are winning, it doesn’t matter what my stats are looking like. We got to get the W. The more we play, the better we will look.”
Scott would love to make it to the NFL, especially since it would help Faith, and it would inspire other kids to pursue their dreams. In fact, Scott wants to be an inspiration in the career path he is pursuing as well. A university studies major in African-American studies and psychology, Scott wants to change the outlook for what he deems to be a lack of role models in communities like he grew up in.
“I am more into doing foundations like the Boys and Girls Club that help back communities and really give back to where I am from,” Scott said. “Just making kids see that there is more than certain things out there. Like people from my area can be more than just athletes, we can be doctors, lawyers and stuff like that. We don’t have to just be a ballplayer or a rapper. Even some kids try to sell drugs. I really want to deter that mindset and let them know that education is power.”
Scott, who got married on May 22 to Emma with his brother as his best man in what he describes as a truly wonderful occasion, knows if his life can turn out good, than it can for any other kid growing up in a poor neighborhood. He loves getting to raise Faith and watch her play at the waterpark or dig in the sand, but he knows that life isn’t that simple for a lot of kids.
“I grew up in West Dallas and had this thing called Voice of Hope,” Scott said. “All the kids in the neighborhood would go there and play instead of being on the streets, because sometimes life happens and kids would be in the wrong place, people go missing or even get killed. Having those foundations keep kids out of trouble. A lot of the kids I met there are still my friends and I can fellowship with them. They have always been part of my life and have symbolized something like helping kids not be scared.”
With the plan in motion, Scott knows what he is going to do next, whether there is a shot at professional football or not. When he looks back on that kid just a few years ago, all he can do is smile and be appreciative for the lessons he has learned and the family he has started.
“I just keep on smiling about it, because when you have been through so much and you end up in a place like this, there is nothing to be sad about,” Scott said.