June 13, 2014 – Wauseon native and 2008 Wauseon High School graduate and former Michigan Wolverine Elliott Mealer signed a contract to play for the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes according to Joey Abrams, Assistant Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel for the CFL franchise.
Mealer was a Prep Star Magazine All-American and a four-star prospect, ranked as the No. 213 prospect in the nation coming out of Wauseon High School in 2008. Committing to the University of Michigan, Mealer sat out his freshman year with a redshirt before earning a varsity letter his sophomore year, starting in 11 games. As a senior, Mealer started and played in the Wolverines 23-20 Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. As a 5th year senior, Mr. Mealer made his first career start at center vs. the University of Alabama and saw action in all 13 games throughout the season.
After graduation from Michigan in 2013, Mealer went undrafted, but was able to sign as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints. After having an opportunity to compete in the Saints Camp, he was let go by the NFL Franchise in August of 2013.
Since his tryouts with the Saints, Elliott has been living and training in the Orlando, Florida area, at ESPN’s Wild World of Sports, working heavily with Tom Shaw training and Brian Stamper, formerly of Vanderbilt University. Mealer has also made an appearance snapping for former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at the John Gruden Quarterback Camp in April of 2014, as well as snapping with the majority of the 2014 draft eligible QBs.
Within the last week, Mealer has been in the midst of what any football player from the high school level on up knows as “summer camps” or “dog days”. According to Mealer “Camp is the brutal time of the year from morning until night. Your day is filled with football activities. Things are different than in the NFL as the CFL does utilize two a day practices. Though the most difficult training time of the year, camp is a time for the team to stick together to get through rough practices and get to know each other”, stated Mealer.
Asked: Student athletes from not only Wauseon but our readers throughout the Fulton and Williams County areas look up to you and have heavily watched your career at the University of Michigan. What advice would you have to junior high and high school athletes who dream of playing collegiate and/or professional sports in the future?
“Great question. For me I always had the dream at a young age to play college football. I was always fixed on what I needed to do to reach my goal. I definitely worked hard, but was also blessed with size. I would jump rope and went to as many Wauseon open gyms as possible to workout. Guys would put in their work and that would be it. I loved putting in the extra time above and beyond the minimum. I always had in the back of my head if I wanted to reach my goals I would need to double the time others put in. In my mind I had to put in the extra work to accomplish my dreams. So that would be my advice to area youth.”
“If anybody wants to go to college to play sports, you probably know deep down where you stand physically and in talent. You know in the back of your mind when you are or are not putting in enough work. In high school I was a mad man in jumping rope and I had a lot of guys who liked to do it with me, but it was on me to put in all the work and training I possibly could.”
“I had great mentors as well, people I came across such as Vic Cales that played at Bowling Green in the early 80′s as just one example of many that saw potential in me and helped me toward my college career.”
“I always believed in myself and always believed this was possible, if you really want it and really believe in yourself then you may be able to sacrifice a few other things in your schedule to put the effort in towards reaching your goal.”
Asked: How did playing at Wauseon and against NWOAL competition prepare you for where you are at in life?
“When at University of Michigan and even with the New Orleans Saints I frequently thought back to Wauseon and the surrounding towns. I always remember my old friends, fans, teachers and others that had an impact one way or another. Even before coming to Canada I watched a 2007 highlight tape of my senior year when Wauseon won league, the next day I received the call to come play for Montreal. I still keeps in touch with old teammates, the closest I ever felt to a team was my senior year of high school.”
“There were times in the middle of the huddle while playing at the Big House in Ann Arbor in front of over 100,000 fans or even in Michigan’s rival game against Ohio State in Columbus, that even though I probably should not have been thinking about old teammates in Wauseon at the time, I had flashes of memories and appreciation for being able to play college football. I am very thankful for my old teammates and teachers in Wauseon.”
Joey Abrams ( Assistant Director of Football Operations and Player Personnel) stated in an interview with The Village Reporter “I watched Elliott across several different venues over the course of the past two years. These include the NFLPA game held in Los Angeles, CA, his pro day at the University of Michigan last spring and of course on tape. He is a big man with versatility to play across the entire line although most of his time at Michigan he played center and guard. He also showed the capacity to be able to bounce out to tackle at the NFLPA Game. Much like our other American offensive linemen he will be given every opportunity to earn a spot on our roster when camp breaks. We are excited to be able to watch him compete for that spot here at our camp at Bishop’s University.”
From Wikipedia: Montreal Alouettes are a Canadian Football League team based in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1946, the team has folded and been revived twice. The Alouettes compete in the CFL Eastern Division and last won the Grey Cup championship in 2010. Their home field is Percival Molson Memorial Stadium for the regular season and Olympic Stadium for the playoffs.
The original Alouettes team (1946-1981) won four Grey Cups and were particularly dominant in the 1970s. After their collapse in 1982 a Montreal CFL team was immediately reestablished, playing first as the Montreal Concordes (1982–1985) and for a single year as the Alouettes once more (1986). A second folding in 1987 led to a nine-year hiatus of CFL football in the city. The current Alouettes franchise is a 1996 relocation of the Baltimore Stallions, the lone success story of CFL’s American expansion. The CFL considers all clubs that have played in Montreal as one franchise in their league records but do not recognize the Baltimore franchise, or its records, as part of the official team history.
The latest incarnation of the Alouettes have proven dynamic on the field and were arguably the best CFL team of the 2000s; they took home three Grey Cups in that decade bringing the total for all incarnations of the franchise to seven. Major stars of the recent era include Mike Pringle, the CFL career leader in rushing yards, and quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who leads all of pro football in career passing yards.
The team is owned by investment banker Robert Wetenhall. Jim Popp serves as the team’s General Manager, his tenure with the franchise extends back to the Baltimore era. Tom Higgins serves as the team’s head coach.
Forrest R. Church & Mark Mercer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org