Michael Wyche, who played his prep ball at Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith before heading to the West Coast, had a rough childhood and that’s putting it mildly.
“Well I was kind of on the wrong path growing up,” Wyche said. “My mother was on drugs really bad and we were jumping from house to house, from homeless shelter to homeless shelter. She ended up leaving me with some people I didn’t even know.
“My dads parents had no clue what was going on so social services was going to take me until my sister came and got me. I was lost and all messed up in the head. I started selling drugs and robbing people while in middle school all the way up to high school.
“I ended up in an alternative school and just didn’t see any future for myself except selling drugs and guns, I thought that was going to be my life.”
Wyche soon discovered he had a gift for sports and with the help of a mentor in middle school, slowly started to turn his life around.
“I started playing football, basketball, wrestling and track,” Wyche said. “A teacher at my school named Alexander Cheesboro changed my mind about life and told me I had a gift to play sports. He mentored me and got me out of the alternative school and in to Oscar Smith.
“I had a teacher named Miss Notti who really helped me stay on the right path and Coach Morgan, my football coach, was great for me too. We won a state title in football and I made all-state in wrestling too. For the first time in my life, I started making Honor Roll and had some scholarship offers for football as well.”
Wyche still had a little more work to do on the academic front and wasn’t able to sign out of high school.
“Unfortunately, my grades still weren’t where they needed to be so so I decided to go the Junior College route,” Wyche said. “I heard about the great JUCO system in California and I heard great things about the coaches at East L.A.
“They have taken care of me and I’m so grateful to everyone. My mother passed away on February 28 and my father has been in prison for 40 years. I just want kids to know that anything is possible and to not ever give up on your dreams. I’ve been through a lot but I’m here now and I’m not looking back.”
Arkansas State and Washington State offered Wyche a scholarship but when the Trojans offered him on Thursday, he wasted no time in jumping on it.
“Man I never saw that coming, I had no idea USC was going to offer me,” Wyche said. “I really like Coach Orgeron a lot, he’s not just a great coach but he’s a great person. He has worked with players with a troubled background like me and I know I can trust him.
“I toured the campus and then sat down with Coach O and Coach Kiffin. When Coach Kiffin offered me a scholarship, I got real emotional. I committed to him right there and I’m so excited to be a Trojan. I worked so hard to get to this point but still, to have a school like USC want me to play for them, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Wyche will play this fall season at East L.A. and then leave in the spring with two years to play two for the Trojans.