As a freshman in high school, Mike Novitsky had verbally committed to play lacrosse at Division 1 powerhouse University of Virginia. Fast forward six years, the red shirt freshman is now the starting center for University at Buffalo football.
Novitsky grew up a lacrosse player. Football followed closely behind.The Victory, NY native was set to play lacrosse in college. However, when it came time to officially commit, Novitsky chose football- giving a simple answer as to why.
“I just took a lot to the game,” said the red shirt freshman. “Just the brotherhood, just being a big guy, a physical guy I just really took a lot to it. It just kind of hit me differently than lacrosse.”
Novitsky was recruited by Buffalo as a tight end. But those plans would take a turn as well.
“I was more of a blocking tight end anyways,” said Novitsky. “I still had great hands but I was just more of a blocker. Talking to a lot of people who have been through college football and even in the pros, they just felt that I could succeed better at offensive line rather than tight end.”
“Actually, at first I thought he was going to be an offensive tackle,” said Bulls offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki. “He probably still could be, but certainly we had the need at center and you take his athleticism and make him center.”
The position switch within the offense is something Novitsky’s teammates, including former high school teammate now Bulls tight end Zac Lefebvre give the center a whole lot of credit for.
“It’s gotta be crazy,” said Lefebvre. “For me personally, that’s something I could never do. I like to run down the field and catch the ball too much. But he made the sacrifice and he knew what he had to do to play and get his opportunity to play division one somewhere and he did it. I’m super proud of him but it’s got to be incredibly hard.”
“It was very tough,” said Novitsky. “I was with it, I liked it. But gaining the weight, knowing the blocking schemes rather than passing routes and all that, it’s just a different world inside. I even might go as far to say as I like center better than tight end. I think it’s cooler. You get to touch the ball every play. But I was all for the switch, I really liked it, and I think it worked out best.”