The NY Jets might look to continue bolstering their wide receiver corps in the 2021 NFL Draft. And one of the most intriguing late-round targets could be Charleston’s Mike Strachan.
Strachan has one of the more interesting backgrounds in this draft class. He was born in The Bahamas and didn’t move to the United States until his sophomore year of high school.
The Freeport native shined on both the gridiron and track growing up finishing third at the 2016 Virginia state championships in the 400 meters.
Strachan was overlooked as a football prospect and received interest from FCS and Division-II programs. He decided to attend Division-II Charleston to play both football and track.
A few years later, he was setting school records as arguably the best receiver at the Division-II level. At 6-foot-5, 226 pounds, Strachan blends incredible size with superb athleticism making him a very appealing developmental wide receiver.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Strachan about his football career to this point, the NFL Draft process, and if he sees himself as a fit with the Jets.
Below is a transcription of our interview.
Interview with NY Jets draft prospect Mike Strachan
Justin Fried: “So you were born in The Bahamas and you didn’t move to the US until high school. How did you first starting playing football? I know your dad played some football in college, but I wasn’t aware that there were too many opportunities to play American Football growing up in The Bahamas.”
Mike Strachan: “Like you said my dad played football up at Bethune-Cookman and he actually played receiver so it came naturally to me at a young age. [My parents] sacrificed a lot for me at a young age sending me to different camps, even in the states. I did a camp in Texas and I earned the “Best Wide Receiver Award” at the camp coming all the way from The Bahamas. They sacrificed so much for me throughout the years. We even had a league going on in The Bahamas before I came over to Virginia. So I still had the opportunity to play organized football.”
JF: “That’s awesome. Yeah, I know football is growing in popularity down there, especially in The Bahamas, so it’s great to hear that you had those opportunities. You’re also a very accomplished track star, and you even had plans to run in the Olympics. Is that right?”
MS: “Yeah track is kind of a second hobby of mine. As I got stronger and faster I was able to achieve some great awards and put up some good times. Track is another avenue I use for my speed and it also helps me keep my speed up for football. I was going to participate for my country in the 2020 Olympics, but because of COVID-19, that was taken away.”
JF: “Do you think your track background has helped you as a football player? And explain a few of the differences in how you go about preparing for say a track meet versus a football game.”
MS: “It’s definitely different because track is more individual as opposed to football which is the ultimate team sport. But for track, I’m able to really strategize on my own. When you’re in your own lane, you’re by yourself. You don’t have to worry about anyone else in that sense. Track has helped me become that elite athlete I need to be for football. Now I see myself having that breakaway speed in the game. And I’m able to separate myself from the defensive backs and whatever opponent I’m up against. As I said, there are differences, but ultimately it’s helped my speed tremendously.”
JF: “You don’t need elite speed to be a great wide receiver, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. So you were a no-star recruit as a football player coming out of high school, arguably more accomplished in track than you were on the gridiron. Redshirt your first year, don’t really get on the field much as a freshman, when was it that you started to realize that the NFL could be a real possibility?”
MS: “As you said, my freshman year of college I came in and redshirted so that year I was developing and getting to know the system. My third year is when I started. I started in 2018 and that’s when I had my first 1,000-yard year. And moving forward to the next year in 2019, that’s when I broke every last receiving record. After that year, I was pumped up for 2020 and I knew I was going to break my records because I have to. That’s something that’s in me, if I have a record, I’m going to break it because I know myself and I know what I can do. Unfortunately, COVID took that season away. With that being said, I made the decision to declare for the draft and continue getting better and better, and when I had different teams calling me after my pro day, that’s when it really clicked for me. I saw that this could be a real possibility. I always believed it growing up and I knew that it would happen. But as you said, when did it become a real possibility? That was when. After my pro day when I was getting all these calls from different teams. I’m having meetings with general managers and coaches. So that’s when it really clicked.”
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JF: “That’s when you get those goosebumps and you realize this is the NFL. This is the real deal.”
MS: “Yeah exactly.”
JF: “So I intentionally left out your breakout years because I wanted to talk about them now. In 2018 you became the first player in school history to hit that 1,000-yard receiving mark — and then you did it again the following year setting school records in catches, yards, touchdowns, you name it. You absolutely dominated at Charleston, and you don’t need me to tell you that. What is it that you think allowed you to find as much success as you did?”
MS: “I’m just, overall, motivated by the game. I love the game so much. And because I love the game so much, I’m always working. I’m always on the field finding ways I could get better and strengthen my weaknesses. With me, having the confidence that I do, I obviously believe in myself, I trust in God, I believe that I’m the best. That mentality helps me a lot on the football field, it allowed me to put up the numbers I did. I always say to myself that I need to get better each year. Each year I have to break my own record, or whoever’s record is there. I’m breaking that record.”
JF: “I love that mindset. I always say that an athlete’s greatest competition is himself, and you definitely seem to have that mindset. Do you have any NFL players that you model your game after or just like to watch on film?”
MS: “Two players that I’ve studied are Calvin Johnson and Michael Irvin.”
JF: “It doesn’t get much better than that. You mentioned that teams were calling earlier. Are there any teams that have shown a little more interest than others that you could potentially see yourself with come draft day? Teams that you wouldn’t be surprised if you get the call and it’s from them?”
MS: “Well with draft day, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get that call and it’s from any team. I’m getting a lot of love from different teams. A lot of different teams are showing interest. It is a great process and I’m just honored to be in this position. To have all these teams contacting me, it’s an honor and a dream come true. I’m excited to play for any team that picks me up.”
JF: “Finally, since we are a Jets site, do you see yourself as a fit for the scheme the Jets are trying to run? Do you think you’d fit well in that offense?”
MS: “I definitely could see myself adjusting in that system quickly. I would be a player that could come in and add value right away. It would definitely be an honor just to play for that organization. Especially with a new coaching staff and what they’ve got going on in that system. It definitely would be great.”
Special thanks to Mike for taking the time to chat with us. The Jets could add another wide receiver at some point in the 2021 NFL Draft.
And if they do, few late-round options are more intriguing than Mike Strachan.