The All-State Tiger linebacker who had a knack for making tackles on the gridiron signed with Westminster College on Friday and will have the opportunity to continue playing a game he loves.

Versailles senior Michael Trotter is about to embark on a new chapter. 

The All-State Tiger linebacker who had a knack for making tackles on the gridiron signed with Westminster College on Friday and will have the opportunity to continue playing a game he loves.

“It is a great feeling to be able to go on to college, pursue a degree and play a sport as well. It means a lot to be able to represent myself and the community,” Trotter said. 

“I always tried to make myself better. It got to the point where it was more like an art form rather than just knocking heads with some guy and it is a great feeling to be able to go out there and be good at something you worked so hard for.” 

And “good” is certainly a reputation that Trotter has earned. The hard-hitting senior was named an All-State linebacker this past fall and he has earned All-District honors three times including first team twice along with All-Conference honors twice including first team recognition in 2018. By the time he hung up his helmet with Versailles, Trotter walked away as the school record holder in career tackles and tackles for a loss as well as season tackles and tackles for a loss. 

Trotter finished with 170 total tackles last season, 117 solo, including 22.5 tackles for a loss with three sacks and a forced fumble. When someone averages about 14 tackles for a game, it is safe to say they have a nose for finding the football.

“We’ve had great linebackers that have been here. We’ve always had a good ‘Mike’ linebacker and our defense kind of fosters that, but he’s obviously been the best of that group,” Versailles coach Broc Silvers said of the senior who was a four-year starter and originally a defensive lineman.

“He played great in big games and I think one of his best games was the Lamar (district championship) game running the ball and making plays behind the line of scrimmage. That is when you know you have a kid that can play at the next level is when he plays big in big games. Anyone can play well in the games they are expected to win, but when you play well against a team that is supposed to rail you or you’re the underdog, that normally shows a college that guy is real.”

Well, one reason that may have been the case is because of Trotter’s attitude and the way he approached the game.

“Always work as hard as you can, never question the coach and always go above and beyond what they expect. If you always strive to do more than what you are expected, you are going to be more than everyone else on the team just because you went the extra step,” the senior said.

The results clearly spoke for themselves and Silvers noticed how far the senior came as a middle schooler who did not spend much time in the weight room to a real student of the game. The coach said Trotter could be one of the toughest kids at Westminster as he rarely missed a game for the Tigers and showed up to play every single day, despite any physical ailments. The example he provided would be a good one for other Versailles football players to take note of.

“He is going to walk in there (Westminster) and be one of the strongest kids coming in. He is almost an 1,100-pound lifter right now and that is where he has kind of grown up in high school going from just a great athlete who is kind of a ‘Hammer Head’-we had to blitz him a lot- to a true football player after that,” the coach pointed out. “He learned how to read, became a team leader and got really strong. I think that is going to play up to the next level. 

“The game is going to be a lot faster for him and that is what he still has to work on and he knows that. He is realistic about his expectations, but I think there is no reason he should not be able to walk in there, have a great camp and contribute whether it is special teams or whatever right away.”

Trotter is eager to get started. 

“I’m really excited to be able to play for a team where everyone wants to be as good as they can,” he said of the school where he will also play linebacker. “In high school you’re with some people that don’t really want to be there or some people that kind of want to be there, but when I go to college everyone is going to want to be there and everyone on the team is going to be just as devoted as I am. It is going to be a great experience.”

Trotter was lured to the Division III school in Fulton where he plans to study elementary education by Head Coach John Welty whom Trotter said made him feel wanted. 

“The head coach is amazing,” the senior said. “I had a lot of other schools try to recruit me but they never made me feel like I was a standout athlete and they actually wanted me because of how good I am. The Westminster coach came here, treated me as a person and treated me like he needed me on his team. He is just a great guy.”

Silvers, who noted that he never tries to influence the school choices of his student-athletes because it has to be a feel for them, took a visit to Westminster with Trotter and saw how much the senior enjoyed it. Silvers also once played football for the Blue Jays himself.

“He is going to be taken care of up there and do a great job. School is tough there which is great,” the coach stated. “He’ll get a degree, get challenged academically and he’ll fit right in with what they have. Some of the players when I was there- if they have the same type of kids which I’m sure they do- he is going to be able to play pretty soon.” 

Whatever Trotter’s next chapter has in store, he’ll always remember where he came from and the sense of community he got from a place like Versailles.

“It is a great feeling to go to school here and have a great learning experience with all the teachers and most of the teachers you’ve been around your whole life. It is like learning from a friend,” he said. “With sports, everybody is friends, a group, and nobody is an individual player or coach. Everyone is together and that feeling was always great for me.”

That may be one reason why he is encouraging his fellow Tigers to make the most out of every single day.

“Don’t take a single second for granted and always live in the moment,” he emphasized. “Every practice show up wanting to be there because there are practices where I took off and I regret it so much because that one bit I will never be able to get back that I missed.”