Mitchell Pehlke, a second-year in sports industry and a student-athlete, edits a video for his YouTube channel after lacrosse practice at Ohio State Oct 29. Credit: Courtesy of Gabe Galbraith

It’s 6 a.m. A phone alarm blares. Mitchell Pehlke gets out of bed, makes his oatmeal, brews his coffee and gets to work.

Pehlke, a second-year in sports industry and a lacrosse student-athlete, runs a YouTube channel with 13,000 subscribers and a podcast called “Pelk Talk.” On his shows, he interviews prominent members of the lacrosse community, with hopes to expand his brand in the future.  

During his freshman year of high school, Pehlke created his YouTube channel. His mother, Jolynn, gifted him a camera and MacBook to jumpstart his career. 

“I always was just scared in the beginning. Obviously, I didn’t know what people would think of it,” Mitchell Pehlke said. “And that just kind of built up, built up, built up and then freshman year I was like, ‘Who cares, I’m just doing this.’”

The same year he started his channel, Mitchell Pehlke committed to Ohio State for lacrosse. 

This spring, Mitchell Pehlke was asked to co-host a podcast called “Buckeye Futures,” created by the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute, which features former Ohio State athletes and their experiences in life after they graduated college. “After that first episode, I was just like, ‘This is sick,’” he said. “The podcast comes so much more easy to me.”

Jolynn Pehlke said she saw how productive her son was, even as campus shut down due to COVID-19 in March.

“He was absolutely able to focus on his YouTube channel and how to grow his brand uninterrupted,” she said. 

To maintain the quality of his work, Mitchell Pehlke said he prioritizes his responsibilities and follows a strict schedule. 

“You gotta keep them in the right order,” he said. “It has been and it will always be, even in high school and now, it’s school, lacrosse, then YouTube.”

As time passed for Mitchell Pehlke and he started his second year at Ohio State, he said he thought about the role he took on for his teammates on the field. 

“From this whole social media thing and what people see, I’m definitely a big voice,” Mitchell Pehlke said. “Especially to the incoming freshmen that come in, they see Mitchell Pehlke, this guy on YouTube and everything. But I’m really just trying to become more of a leader in the athletic sense on the lacrosse field.”

Mitchell Pehlke said while he hopes to continue expanding his brand, he has learned when to pull back.

“Social media is such a thing that you can get so burned out on because there’s always something you can be doing,” he said. “If you don’t give yourself a break, that will hurt you in the long run.”

Gabe Galbraith, a second-year in finance and Pehlke’s teammate and roommate, said he sees the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. 

“He really just grinds,” Galbraith said. “It probably takes him close to like eight or nine hours to make a YouTube video, even if it’s just one of his podcasts.” 

For Mitchell Pehlke, his passion and future lies in the entertainment industry. 

“I want to stay in this realm of making videos and doing podcasts, and being in front of the camera, Mitchell Pehlke said. “Honestly, I’ve never thought anything else.” 

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