Bishop Carroll High School graduate Eric Minemyer’s persistence and work ethic will be on display in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday.
Minemyer is projected as the starter at right tackle for the Florida Atlantic Owls against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound redshirt senior didn’t follow a traditional or straightforward route to his spot on the Owls’ offensive line.
He worked his way up the depth chart since the 2010 season, while dealing with a position change, different coaching staffs and the everyday grind associated with being a student-athlete at a NCAA Division I college program.
“My degree was my biggest motivation,” said Minemyer, a public safety administration major. “I didn’t want to be another guy with no degree and no future. My family helped me stick with it.”
Minemyer moved back to the offensive line last season after working at the tight end spot in 2012. He saw action in one game, against an Auburn team which went on to play in the BCS National Championship game in January.
The Owls lost 45-10 to then-No. 11 Auburn on Oct. 26 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. But the experience had an impact on Minemyer.
“Auburn was a game-changer for me,” Minemyer said. “I got to play most of the second half. It was a lot of fun, and it gave me the opportunity to seize the moment. After practicing at every position on the offensive line and even working at tight end, I knew my responsibilities and had a pretty good game.”
New Florida Atlantic coach Charlie Partridge has become acquainted with Minemyer rather quickly since taking over the Owls’ program in December.
“Eric is a quiet, diligent worker,” said Partridge, who previously held coaching positions with Arkansas, Wisconsin and five years as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Panthers. “Since the spring he has grown personally and has progressed into a player we can win with.”
Minemyer’s offensive line coach Bart Miller appreciates how the player worked through adversity to become a key part of the program.
“Eric is a great example of a guy that grinded through his early career, worked to better himself as a player, learned the offense, took care of business off the field, and executed at a high level when presented an opportunity,” Miller said. “He is a smart player that doesn’t make many mistakes and he is consistent with utilizing the technique, and he is having success because of it. (These are) All great things that the young guys can learn from.”
Minemyer displayed similar traits while playing for former Bishop Carroll coach Craig Sponsky. The Hastings resident lettered four years and was a two-way player during his final three seasons. As a senior, he was an all-state selection by The Associated Press (second team) and PA Football News (third team), as well as a first-team Tribune-Democrat All-Area pick.
“Eric has done a nice job picking up the offense, improving his fundamentals and using the technique to master his craft,” Miller said. “We have seen the production and execution on a consistent basis. Eric had a good spring and fall camp, and really helped solidify the right side of the line.”
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @masty81.