It might be a shortfall to call David Mueller determined.
The Lacombe Composite High School senior took the next step in his football journey Wednesday, signing on the dotted line for an opportunity to play football for the University of Calgary Dinos next season.
“It’s an awesome opportunity. I’ve worked really hard for it, for the last three or four years,” the standout wide receiver said. “Since football started getting serious, it’s a bit of a relief to have it over with. It was starting to get stressful… the decision making process. I’m really glad it’s done and I’m confident in my decision and looking forward to playing next year.”
That dogged determination not only makes him a physical threat on the football field, but according to Rams head football coach Jason Petrie, it has set Mueller apart in other aspects as well.
“Being the first year head coach and just taking the program over this year, it gave me a really good perspective because I knew him as a student,” Petrie said.
“The growth (has been) huge. He’s always one of those kids that was very motivated to do the things that he needed to do to become successful. The proof is in his play, not just his play but the kind of person he is.”
Mueller, who stands about six-feet tall, said Wednesday once he set his sights on the CIS, he knew he would get there.
“In Grade 9, my last year of bantam I decided this is what I wanted to do and ever since then, I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind that I can do it,” he said. “I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I wasn’t going to settle.”
The Lacombe high schooler first caught the eye of Dinos head coach Wayne Harris and recruiting coordinator Matt Berry in the summer and were impressed with his physicality.
“We’ve seen a big change, even just from Canada Cup this summer when we got a chance to watch him.,” Harris said. “Just looking at his film through the season, had an outstanding year. Just again, the thing we noticed the most was how physical he is and his speed is getting better. Those are all things that happen as an athlete matures.”
Harris led the Dinos to the Vanier Cup this season, but fell short of the ultimate university football prize against the Laval Rouge et Or. One of his top wideouts was fourth-year Austen Hartley, who was third in the country in receiving yards per game this year and Harris wasn’t shy about comparing Mueller to Hartley.
“He’s a very strong, physical inside receiver,” Harris said about Mueller.
“He has very good hands, great route running. We think he’s going to be a tremendous asset, reminds us a lot of Austen Hartley, the top receiver in our program right now… We’re very excited to have David join us.”
Harris added that the program has several receivers on the CFL draft list, which could open up a sport for Mueller to find playing time immediately next year. He also said that two freshman saw time for his team, one of Canada’s best university football teams last year.
You can bet Mueller has his sights set on being another freshman who cracks the opening day roster.
“It’s going to be a huge jump but i’m going to work hard for it and it’s what I want to do,” he said. “It’s clearly a huge jump from high school but I’m excited for it and I want to be ready to go for spring camp.”