J Swiss Mickey

To start this article, Mickey explicitly wanted to clean the air and mention that they have nothing to do with Mickey Mouse, it just so happened that they share a name, albeit with a slightly different spelling. They also share another interesting connection, the French one. Mickey Mouse debuted in France in 1992 when Disneyland Paris opened. After 25 years, Miki Sogutoraga made his France debut in 2017. The 6’4″ 265lb athlete debuted in France, where he was serving his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With the average French man standing 5’7″ and weighing 170 pounds, the Eiffel Tower wasn’t the only thing the French were suddenly looking at. Mickey spent two years in France talking about God’s love before returning home on a different mission; setting the fear of God in the face of quarterback.

Mickey grew up in Kaneohe, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. He is one of 9 kids who grew up playing all kinds of sports. Growing up he enjoyed playing corn, spectacle, and casual video games. He also has an interest in competitive eating and I can imagine with 9 siblings you’d better be quick at the dinner table or someone else might beat you with that. It’s clear from Mickey’s size that he didn’t miss many meals. He is a physically imposing individual. He’s not quite as strong, the guy has some serious minds. It is clear that he lived in France for two years and is fluent in French, which he continues to study along with his major in Criminology. That’s right, when Mickey’s playing days are over, he wants to pursue a career with the likes of the FBI doing criminal profiling and catching bad guys. But first he will focus on catching the midfielder.

Miki Sogutoraga and Van Willinger follow quarterback at UCLA
(Photo: Scott Stevens, 247 Sports)

Mickey has the size and now he has a great understanding of the defense that has been on the show for several years. I remember hearing Mickey’s name was hailed when he first arrived on campus. Last year he was listed alongside Van Willinger in the final defensive position. If there’s one player on this Utah team that I feel is ready to go to the next level of performance next season, I think it’s Mickey. Filinger will probably get a lot of attention on the counterpoint and we know defensive tackles will require attention, which should give Mickey plenty of chances to go 1 to 1 with opposing tackles. At last year’s Stanford game, Mickey ran so fast outside, coming home and not only firing QB but stripping the ball in the process. Demonstrate Sugotorauga’s versatility with his speed.

I recently had the opportunity to get to know Mickey a little better. First as a guest on the Social Hall Sports Podcast and again last week at the Utah Social Open. Mickey is as cute a person as there is, I mean that too. He is kind, respectful, fun and light-hearted. Really everything you want your alma mater representative to be when he’s off the field. Now I want to see the mean, hateful, relentless, and violent side of him on the court. Ex-UTA Stevenson Sylvester spoke about how he personally moved to a “completely different place, mentally” when it came to playtime. For Sly, music was the key to unlocking that mindset, though he stated that “every athlete is a little different.” I think this is the final piece of the puzzle for Suguturauga. I’ve seen the cute giant side of Mickey, and now I want to see that inner monster we know is inside.

Mickey loves the cold weather here in Utah, which seems silly given that he came from the paradise that is Hawaii. What he misses most about Hawaii is the food. “Oh, man, I miss the food. The variety and quality are amazing.” From traditional Hawaiian dishes, to fresh fish and great Asian food, to fruit and desserts, Mickey misses it all, but he’s glad to be here in Utah. “I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue my dreams and achieve success.” And speaking of success, I think Mickey is on the cusp of a lot of it.

There’s a saying I love, and it sounds a little silly at first, but it’s really cool. “Nothing succeeds like success.” Your first thought should be to tell me “No sh! T Sherlock.” Your second thought should be to think of the idea. Seriously, success generates the necessary conditions for further success. Think about it, baseball players get hot when hitting streaks, and some basketball players after they see a few shots fall into the basket might shoot a hoop about how easy it is to start scoring. In sports, as in life, success brings more success. A recent study looked at this very thing by referring to it in the NBA as the “hot hand effect.” The vox article broke it down better with the following stating:

The researchers looked at 29 years of data from the NBA three-point shooting competition and found that players who hit three or more consecutive shots had a 6.3% greater chance of hitting the next ball, compared to a baseline average.

“It can be a small difference in focus, a player entering an unconscious flow state, or the positive vibes from hitting one of the shots to boost your confidence the next,” says Joshua Benjamin Miller, an economist and co-author of the new research paper. “We don’t really know why that is, but the patterns are there.”

Another great quote about success is that “Success is where opportunity meets preparation.” Transfer to the Dallas Cowboys Mika Tafua, who not only drove the Utah but drove the entire Pac 12 in sacks last season. This provides a great opportunity for the likes of Mickey. If Utah was able to consistently press opponent QBs while rushing only 4, the defense would be just as bad, and that’s the point. Mickey will play a big role in that and I think he’s ready for some early season success that will take his play to the level of an all-conference performer and help Utah defend the Pac-12 title.

Celebration 01
(Photo: Scott Stevens, 247 Sports)

So what does Mickey himself think he needs to work on to take the next step? “Each rep compete to improve and benefit [his] physical. He also told me his favorite plays are when he’s walking around inside and showing off his body. Mickey is on a mission, this gentle giant of a guy who can’t wait to hit someone next season and I can’t wait to watch him.

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