Over the summer, as the Maryland football team began preseason training camp, the players began to notice that someone was missing. The jersey – No. 63 – was there but the body was not. So everyone started wondering to themselves, “Who’s Mike Minter?”
A valid question, even for diehard Terrapins fans. Minter is a preferred walk-on true freshman from Severna Park who spent the entire season on the injury list, because he tore a knee ligament even before football started. That’s why he missed camp, and that’s why he spent the opener against Florida International, per NCAA rules, watching from the student section instead of the sideline.
Minter has dislocated his knee six – SIX! – times, including twice during football, once during basketball and once while he attempted a cartwheel. This latest injury, which kept him relegated him to “out for the season” status on the weekly injury report, happened when he was dancing at a school concert and leaned back, like he was doing the limbo.
“It’s funny now,” Minter said Tuesday night at Comcast Center, minutes before he took the stage and sang a Michael Jackson song. He volunteered for Maryland’s inaugural athlete talent show – officially called “Terps Got Talent,” which Minter certainly does – because he learned to play guitar in seventh grade during music class and taught himself with YouTube videos. At Severna Park, where he was a second-team all-state defensive lineman, he regularly performed in front of 1,000 audience members at the annual “Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival” shows.
At 6 feet 3 and 291 pounds, Minter likes surprising people with his voice, which was on full display while he belted out the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” He gave a pre-performance shoutout to his teammates, many of whom were in the audience and danced around during the song, and urged fans to attend the Military Bowl against Marshall on Dec. 27. Minter grew up a Maryland fan, and upon his commitment this January called it his “dream school,” turning down several Football Championship Subdivision offers to pay his own tuition.
Minter didn’t finish in the top three – track and field athletes Noella Anyangwe and Jordan Simmons brought down the house with a violin/breakdance routine – but returned to his seat with considerably more recognition than when the night began. After all, it only took his arrival in College Park this September for his teammates to answer their own question. “Oh,” they said. “You’re Mike Minter.”
>>Remember that cups song Anna Kendrick sings in “Pitch Perfect,” a cover of the Lulu and the Lampshades version, which was a cover of an old folk song? The one where the chorus goes, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone?” The Maryland softball team sang its version of it, about leaving the ACC and moving to the Big ten.
Center Damonte Dodd also played the drums.