Aaron Mercadel Q&A
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Tell me about your high school team. What division do you guys play in, how successful have you guys been the past few years and what is the competition level like?
I played for the Saint Mary’s Panthers in Berkeley, CA. We were division four and my last two years of high school we made it to the championship. We won it my junior year and lost my senior year. The competition always depended on the amount of seniors the other team had. We were a young team and used to it. The amount of returning starters for another team designated how good they would be.
I see St Mary’s had a big signing day party, what other players signed and where are they going to play?
We had a total of 8 signees including myself. Our defensive tackle Peter Sekona is going to Cal for rugby. Our defensive end Ben Schrider is going to Richmond. Our safety Ron Smith is going to SDSU (San Diego St) Our DB Nelson White is going to Briar Cliff and our other DB Noah Richards is going to Dennyson. Our two track girls are going to UCLA and Northern Colorado.
What other schools were recruiting you and did you take any other official visits?
I was recruited by Air Force, Montana, Wyoming, Sac State and Eastern Washington and I only took an official to Montana.
When was the first time you heard of NDSU and when did Coach Cain start recruiting you?
I had never heard of NDSU until Coach Cain called me in June of 2014 to offer me. Shortly after I got off the phone with him I looked NDSU up.
Tell NDSU fans what Coach Cain is like and what was his pitch to get you to commit to NDSU?
Coach Cain is extremely persistent and his heart is in the best place. He is the definition of a recruiter. I hadn’t met him in person til October but I felt like I knew him for years.
When you tell your friends you signed with NDSU, do they have any clue where it is or the success they have had the past few years?
Only true football fans know that NDSU is D1 and arguably the best school in the FCS. Others ask why I would want to go to North Dakota but after I explain the history of NDSU they understand.
Talk about your official visit. How was the game, what was it you wanted to see when you came and was there anything that surprised you about the school or city?
I took my official visit the week of the Coastal Carolina playoff game. I had never seen a stadium get so packed and loud. It beat my standards of what I thought was a good game time atmosphere. I was surprised by the diversity I thought it would be less and how welcoming the town is.
You took your official the same time as RB Bruce Anderson from Florida. Tell us about Bruce, which players were your hosts and did you enjoy your trip?
Bruce actually lived in California for a while so we knew a lot of the same places and people. We were both kind of the same when it came to what we wanted out of the school athletically and academically. My hosts was Dakota Reid and he did his job. There was never dull moment on my trip.
If a player from California was was being recruited by NDSU what would your pitch be to him to consider the Bison?
I rather be cold and win with a family than be warm and lose with a bunch of individuals.
You are the first reported player from the state of California to pick NDSU over a FBS offer. What was it about NDSU that made you feel comfortable to travel so far away for school?
Once I saw the family aspect to the NDSU environment I was happy. I always wanted to move far from home for college and experience something new. I definitely feel like I can do that at NDSU.
Did you get to see NDSU on TV at all for the playoffs or College Gameday and how excited were you when NDSU scored late in the 4th to beat Illinois State?
I attended one playoff game and it was crazy. I sat on the edge of the bed in my room yelling the entire time for the championship game. When we beat Illinois state the way we did all I could think was “These guys know how to play 4 quarters of football and win”
Do you see yourself playing Mike, Sam or Will linebacker and do you expect to redshirt next year? Or what have the coaches told you about redshirting and where they see you playing?
I will be playing Sam or Will depending on how I develop. Coaches say I can either redshirt or play my first year. I’m not too concerned with that decision because I know the coaches have my best interest in mind and know what they are doing.
Do you know what you would like to major in?
I want to major in sports science to hopefully become an orthapedic surgeon one day.
Here is Coach Klieman talking about Mercadel on signing day