Saline High School senior Tyler Plocki is one step closer to making his dream come true.
Wednesday, Plocki signed a letter of intent to join the University of Michigan football team as a preferred walk on.
Plocki was a two-year starter at linebacker for the Saline football team. He finished the year with 49.5 tackles, two tackles for a loss and an interception.
As a preferred walk-on, he knows he’s got fight on his hands to win a spot on the team. Still, he’s thrilled to have the opportunity.
“I can’t even imagine having my football career be over and not play football again. I’m amped up and excited to go work my tail off and see what I can do,” Plocki said. “It would mean the world to me to go play on a Saturday. I’ve grown up watching Michigan football, dreamed about my entire life, so it would definitely mean the world to me.”
The 6-foot, 215-pounder had offers from Ivy League schools and a couple of small Division 1 schools, but in the end, the choice was easy.
“It just seemed like after my visit to Michigan that that’s where I need to be. I’ve grown up here my entire life. It really got me excited to go play football there,” Plocki said.
Plocki isn’t your typical Michigan fan. His father, James, is strength and conditioning coach for the Wolverines, so he has a unique understanding of Michigan football.
“My dad is strength and conditioning coach, so I know how everything runs. My dad has given me a couple of the workouts, so I’m going to be ready to go,” Plocki said.
Coaches at Michigan recruited Plocki as a linebacker and fullbacker.
“They like how I like to hit people hard. They like the aggression,” Plocki said. “They recruited me to play linebacker and fullbacker. I’m guessing I probably end up at fullback, because of my size.”
Plocki made many memories at Saline with his teammates. One of his favorites was in his sophomore year, when the Hornets were playing Pioneer in the district championship game. Saline led 27-23 and Pioneer got the ball back late in the game.
“We had to hold them off until the final seconds ticked off. The heart rate was going for sure. It was such a relief when the clock struck zero and we won it,” Plocki said.
He believes he learned to be a leader in the Saline football program.
“It’s taught me a lot of over the years. It’s taught me to be a leader. It’s shaped the way I’ve grown up,” Plocki said. “I can take that when I go to Michigan and help try to influence others in a positive manner.”
Saline head coach Joe Palka said Palka had a great senior year and that he was rewarded with a great opportunity.
“He was steady and dependable and saved his best football for his last year,” Palka said. “The opportunity to be a part of the Michigan program says something about him. He has an opportunity that few players receive.”
Plocki plans to study business and management.