Mykal Stinson pushes into elite status

Mykal Stinson

Photo: Rachel Hamilton

Junior Mykal Stinson breaks a tackle against Flushing on September 3, 2015.

Story: Kyle Looney, Staff Writer

While growing up with big dreams and ambitions, Mykal Stinson would watch football on TV and think to himself, “That’s going to me one day.”
That dream has become a reality for the junior running back. Childhood is where everything started to fall into place for a kid with breathtaking talent. He used to play football with neighborhood friends, even with his now captain and teammate senior Jake Tahaney. He was seeking that dream of being a football player. “It all started when I was 5 years old,” Stinson said. “It has always been something I was interested in.”
Sports bring out the inner competitive instinct and truly turn athletes to breakout stars. The ability to transform into a top prospect takes hard work and “blood, sweat, and tears.” Having an outside influence can be the missing piece an athlete can use to progress.
Stinson has gotten the chance to work with MSU alumni, star running back Tico Duckett. Duckett started to help Stinson improve and condition during last offseason.
“Always talking, run harder, run harder, gotta do this, gotta do that,” Stinson said. “Just stuff that gets me inspired, and hypes me up.”
Duckett got involved with the varsity running backs this year, and especially with Stinson.
“The biggest thing I have taught them is running full speed, to open area and reading the blocks in front of them,” Duckett said. “We’ve done some drills that work on certain ball handling skills, watching film and try to better ourselves every time we get on the field to get better than we were the day before.”
With sports there comes discipline, the one thing that everyone dislikes. For Stinson, freshman year was where he had the attitude and didn’t like doing what was needed.
“Freshman year I had an attitude, I didn’t like doing anything,” he said. “I didn’t listen to anybody, including the coaches. I would get suspended from school and not be able to play.”
Head coach Charlie Otlewski has really made a huge impact on Stinson.
“Out on the field, Coach O is like a father figure to me. When I feel like he’s watching, I feel like I do a lot better,” Stinson said. “He has done so much for me.”
Otlewski has noticed a change in his star running back. “I think he has matured, which has been his biggest factor,” Otlewski said. “He fought us on a lot of stuff freshman year.”
Siblings can also be a huge motivating factor. Stinson has been trying to help his younger brother, while also improving himself.

He has high expectations for being the big brother and role model.
“He better be better than me,” Stinson said. “He has the talent, and I don’t want to see him waste it.”
Earlier experiences in the Lansing youth football leagues was just the beginning for Stinson. He played quarterback as a great way to gain experience to prepare for the high school level. This was also an opportunity to surround himself with friends even if they play on different teams and be included in the community.
“The youth football was amazing,” Stinson said. “There was all types of talent. Everybody is friends.” With high hopes for Stinson’s future, as this season comes to an end, the main focus now is his senior season and “bringin’ the hammer.”
Duckett sees a bright future for Stinson at the college level. “Whether it’s D1 or D3, he’s still going to be a great asset to any team as far as being a running back,” Duckett said. “He can become a leader by practicing every day, getting in the weight room and leading by example.”
Stinson has high expectations for his senior season to surpass his previous season’s stats.
“I want 2,000 rushing yards, 24-25 touchdowns the whole season, 25-35 touches a game and I want to go D1,” Stinson said.
For Stinson, Haslett has given him the connections he has needed to mature and grow as a person. The environment is more fit academically and athletically, compared to other options, for helping students go to the next level.
“I’m glad I came out here because the position I am in and the education that I have got here is by far better than Lansing schools,” Stinson said.