Monarch Linebacker Hopes To Mount Next Defense In The Courtroom

December 10, 2008
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Dec. 10, 2008

The fact that both of his parents attended North Carolina A&T State University didn't carry any weight when it came time for Michael Colbert to choose a college. Neither did the fact that his brother Brandon also attended the university and played safety on the Aggies football team. The Fayetteville native shunned offers from in-state schools Wingate and East Carolina, and a chance to play alongside his brother, to join the Monarchs program and become a part of history.

"When it came time to make my decision it boiled down to facilities," said Colbert the 6-foot-1, 205 pound linebacker from E.E. Smith High School. "At Old Dominion everything was brand new and it was also an opportunity to do something big as part of a new program."

Doing big things is nothing new to Colbert who lettered in both football and basketball in high school. While his overly aggressive nature caused him to foul out of more than his share of games on the court, on the football field it proved to be a huge asset. That tenacity and aggression helped him to earn Defensive Player of the Year and all-conference honors as a senior when he led all Cumberland County Schools with 144 tackles (66 solo), averaging 14.4 tackles per game.

Making the mental adjustment to the college game has been an experience for Colbert both on and off the field. Unlike high school football where athletic ability alone can lead to success, being a good linebacker in college has more to do with assignments, alignments and execution.

"In high school things came easy to me on the field, I just ran around and made plays," adds Colbert. "Here it's more about learning the playbook, taking read steps, doing everything the coach tells you to do. It's more mental and you need better fundamentals and Coach Rondeau has helped me with that."

Colbert has spent countless hours studying the Monarchs defensive playbook, but even more time studying for his full load of classes for within his major in philosophy with an emphasis in political and legal studies. And although his immediate family couldn't influence his choice of colleges, his extended family did play a part in helping Colbert decide on a career in corporate law.

"I've always wanted to be a lawyer, ever since I was little," said Colbert. "I have aunts and uncles who are lawyers and that's a field I've always been interested in."

His desire to practice corporate law was reinforced during his senior year at E.E. Smith, when as part of a senior project he worked alongside his uncle John Perry at the firm of Perry, Perry & Perry in Durham. That experience helped Colbert realize that the characteristics needed to be a force at linebacker are the same ones that will assist him in becoming a successful lawyer.

"I learned a lot about corporate law during the time I spent working with my uncle. It helped me realize even more that this is what I want to do," said Colbert. "And now I understand that in order for me to accomplish my goals in football and in law, it's going to take a combination of hard work and dedication."