Former Dakota Football Champ Makes Final Visit to Big House Saturday
Senior tight end Mike Kwiatkowski joined the University of Michigan squad as a walk-on in 2010.
A former Dakota High School football player will take the field at Michigan Stadium for the final time Saturday, completing a journey the senior tight end admits he never truly expected.
"When I first got here I never expected this day to come," said Mike Kwiatkowski, in an interivew recorded by MaizeandBlueNews.com. "The first game I dressed for was Michigan State and I was just happy to be out here and I had no foresight of thinking that three years in the future I would be walking out there as a senior for the last time."
Playing football and basketball at Dakota, Kwiatkowski finally made the Cougars' varsity squad his junior year, but opted to focus his efforts on the basketball court instead.
Having to sit back and watch his former team capture the 2006 state championship without him, Kwiatkowski returned to the football field in 2007, helping the Cougars snag a second Division 1 state championship, according to the Free Press.
And that was going to be the end of his football career.
Enrolling at the University of Michigan, where he is now a brain, behavior and cognitive science major, Kwiatkowski was resigned to the role of spectator for his first two years.
Then as fate would have it, he came across an ad for walk-on tryouts in the fall of 2010 and took a chance, The Free Press reports.
Accepted to the team as a walk-on, he played left guard and scout team tight end in practice, making his collegiate debut as a reserve tight end and on special teams during the 2011 season.
As a fifth-year senior, Kwiatkowski has appeared in 10 games at tight end, and made six starts in the 2012 season.
He will take the field at the Big House for the final time Saturday, when the Wolverines take on Iowa at noon. Upon graduation, Kwiatkowski intends to pursue pharmacy.