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story.lead_photo.caption RICK PECK/SPECIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS Micah Burkholder recently signed to play football at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. Shown above at the signing are (front, left) Carlos Diaz (dad), Malia Diaz (sister), Micah Burkholder and Heather Burkholder (mom), and (back, left) MCHS coaches Kanon Hoover, Kellen Hoover and Craig Collins.

Micah Burkholder had to earn his opportunity to play college football.

At first, Burkholder wasn't offered an opportunity to play at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. But he attended an open tryout for players who the college hadn't recruited or been able to see where he impressed the coaches enough to include Burkholder on the 2019 Lion team.

"I went to the tryout and they pulled me and a few other guys aside and said they are looking for some guys for scholarships next year," Burkholder said. "I am looking good for getting one."

Burkholder, who played tight end and defensive end last year at McDonald County, said he auditioned at tight end and linebacker.

"I ran some routes and they had me cover some receivers from the linebacker position," Burkholder said. "They thought I would be a good fit to play linebacker, so that is where I am going to play."

Burkholder signed his letter of intent on March 6 at McDonald County High School.

"It was exciting to finally sign," Burkholder said. "Southern is close to home and they are rebuilding the program and I want to be a part of that."

Burkholder said he is looking forward to the college experience, but that being close to home will have its own rewards.

"Southern is not too far away so it's not terrible," Burkholder said. "I am still going to have my mom feed me."

Burkholder started the past two years at MCHS under head coach Kellen Hoover.

"I am proud of how far Micah has come as a football player in the two years that I have got to know him," Hoover said. "He has come all the way from a wide receiver to going and signing as an outside linebacker. This year he played defensive end for us with his hand on the ground. We have asked him to do a lot and take on a lot of different roles and he has never balked at anything we asked him to do. He said whatever he needed to do to get on the football field was what he wanted to do. You can do a lot with a guy like that, and I hope he continues that at Missouri Southern and I think he will. I am excited to see him compete at the next level."

Burkholder said he is planning to major in biology with the goal of becoming a physician's assistant.

Burkholder earned four-year academic honors as a member of the football team and has been on the A/B honor roll for the past three years. He has also been involved in powerlifting, baseball, wrestling and cheerleading while at McDonald County.

"I want to thank all of my coaches for everything they have done for me on and off the field," Burkholder said. "Also, I want to thank Coach McCullough for teaching me how to lift so I can perform to the best of my ability. Most importantly, I want to thank my mom for raising me into the man I am today and loving and supporting me even when times got tough."

Burkholder is the son of Heather Burkholder and Carlos Diaz.

Sports on 03/21/2019

Print Headline: Micah Burkholder Signs Letter Of Intent To MSSU

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