During a late September football game in 2007 between Mines and Chadron State, a young freshman Oredigger named Marc Shiechl tackled Chadron’s Danny Woodhead in what was a seemingly harmless play. Nobody could have guessed where those two athletes would end up three years later. Woodhead entered the NFL in 2008 and became a national sensation and household name as an explosive running back for the New England Patriots. Now it is Schiechl’s turn. The former Oredigger defensive end is putting his engineering career on hold as he enters the NFL draft April 28 in hopes of making the roster of an NFL team. Schiechl has been working out with teammates Kaleb Anderson and Blaine Sumner and has already been contacted by members of the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, San Fransisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.
During his career at Mines, Schiechl helped lead the Orediggers to a share of the RMAC conference championship. He also set a new NCAA Division II record for career sacks (46) and is fourth all time in tackles for a loss (74.5). Schiechl was a runner up in the Gene Upshaw Defensive Player of the Year award in 2010, named the Don Hansen Defensive Player of the Year, and a three time All-American (the first in CSM football history) among other accolades.
Currently, only 3.3% of all NFL players hail from division II schools like Mines. And the majority of those 57 players were not drafted, but signed as free agents later in the spring. Schiechl is looking to beat these odds and become the first football player from Mines to enter the NFL. And who knows, maybe he will get one more crack at tackling Woodhead. For his outstanding performance on and off the field, Schiechl is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] Which NFL teams have shown interest in you?
[Schiechl] I’ve worked out for a bunch of teams. But the Packers and Jaguars have shown the most interest. They’re both flying me out to their stadiums to meet all of their coaches. I would start off as a backup or a part of special teams if I made it.
If you could pick, which team would you like to join?
Probably the [Denver] Broncos. I’m from Colorado and it would be nice to stay close to home.
How has Mines prepared you for this experience?
Mines can be such a struggle sometimes, and afterwards nothing really surprises you. It’s easier to get through the difficult times after you make it through Mines.
What will you do with your engineering degree?
I’ll work in the field after football is over. Probably in petroleum or something like that.
What has it been like to workout next to former teammates Kaleb Anderson and Blaine Sumner (both NFL prospects as well)?
It’s been great. It takes the pressure and the eyes off of you for a little while.
What do you predict will be your fortune during the draft?
I could go to someone during the draft but I don’t know. It’s one of those things where I wouldn’t be surprised if I did [get selected during the draft], and I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t. If I don’t go, I would probably sign as a free agent
Who has made the most impact on you during your football career?
My dad. He played football in high school and for the [Buffalo] Bills in the NFL during the probation period. He knows a lot about football and early on he gave me the drive to play. And we’ve had a lot of good coaches here, especially defensive coordinator Bob Benson. He really helped me to develop my game.
Over your last four years, what has been your favorite part about being a student athlete?
All the friends you make from the team. You’re not alone with what you go through and it helps you build strong friendships.
If you could do college again, what would you do differently?
Distribute my time differently. I wouldn’t throw all my work into the evening. I would spread it out.
If you could change one thing at Mines, what would it be?
Probably something about the parking. It’s really bad.