“Finding a college that had my major was my first priority,” said Sleep, who plans to major in mechanical engineering. “Secondly, I wanted to attend a bigger, more populated college in order to experience an environment with almost 10,000 students.”
Ultimately, that search led him to Colorado Mesa, enabling him to rejoin former Panther teammate Olie Olson, who signed with the university last season.
“The defensive coordinator visited with my dad at work at the end of my junior season,” Sleep said. “They talked about me and he told my dad that I would have a spot on his team. When I made my official visit to Grand Junction, it was easy for me to see that their offer proved they were serious about making me a part of their team.”
Sleep said he was offered preferred walk-on status at both Montana State and Wyoming. He also turned down scholarship offers from Briar Cliff and Chadron State.
“When talking with Coach Auer (Colorado Mesa defensive coordinator), he shared that right now he has a great leader at the middle linebacker position,” Sleep said. “He stated that he needed to find a player that could come in and take his place when he leaves and lead the defense.”
During a three-year varsity career, Sleep finished with 25.5 tackles for loss, 113 solo tackles and 192 assisted tackles for the Panthers, helping lead the team to state championship titles in both his junior and senior seasons. Sleep also recovered six fumbles and picked off four passes in his prep career.
“God has blessed me in so many ways,” said Sleep. “Nothing has meant more to me than the successes and trials we experienced together as a football team. I have appreciated my coaches, teammates and the people who have cheered us on as we accomplished our goals with back-to-back state championships. I am going to miss Powell.”
Sleep was part of a large signing class by Colorado Mesa. The Mavericks finished 4-7 overall and 4-5 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action last season.