Columbus native has lead role in new CW series

Three years ago, Michael Evans Behling was running track at Columbus North and earning honor roll recognition as a senior for academics. Now, the 2015 North graduate is back in high school as student and football quarterback Jordan Baker on “All American,” a new series debuting on the CW network.

The one-hour pilot episode airs at 9 p.m. Oct. 10 on WISH-TV with television and movie veteran Taye Diggs in the role of Billy Baker, his dad and football coach.

The series is inspired by the life of former NFL linebacker Spencer Paysinger, who had played four seasons for the New York Giants, two with the Miami Dolphins and three games with the Carolina Panthers in 2017.

The show stars Daniel Ezra in the role of wide receiver Spencer James, modeled after Paysinger, a rising high school football standout and a student at South Crenshaw High. Yet, when coach Baker recruits him to join his team in Beverly Hills, family and friends convince him it’s a chance he has to take, according to the show’s publicity material.

Behling has a supporting role in the show and has already conducted a range of extensive online and print interviews.

“It all does seem like it’s been pretty fast,” said Behling, 22, who got his television start last year in a bit part as a “handsome dude” on Fox’s “Empire” series.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.