But CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports that it is not just because he is Sandia High's star wide receiver but because he is one of the few people in Albuquerque affected by the war in Iraq.
"I should be enjoying high school and not worry about things," Michael says.
His dad volunteered for war duty.
Michael is not sure that anyone who is not going through it can understand what it fees like.
"If you have a loved one pass away you could," he says.
In a classroom, when students are asked to raise their hand if they have a relative who is serving in Iraq, the only response is blank stares. In a school of 2,100 students, only Michael and one other kid have parents who are serving in the war.
For them, war is worlds away, they have other concerns.
"It's not the topic of conversation," one student says.
Instead, concerns are homework and homecoming.
Ken Maier teaches at Sandia.
"Kids on my block went to Vietnam and didn't come home," he says. "You really watched the draft numbers."
But this war fought by an all volunteer army only touches those who choose it. Like a lot of places in America, life goes on as if there were no war in Iraq a laid-back Southwest city that is staying that way.
For Michael, that means carrying the burden of his father's sacrifice largely alone.
His little brother Jacob has cerebral palsy.
"My brother Jacob is in a wheelchair," he says. "So now I feel I have to step up to the plate and fill in for my dad."
He's hoping he won't have to fill in forever. That's his biggest fear.
"You've got that little thing in the back of your head that something could happen to your dad," he says.
And Michael Scarlett says he'd rather not have his dad on the front line.
Michael says he'd rather see his dad on the sideline.
"I love my dad very much and I hope he's safe," he says.