It has been the norm for Michigan State to pull a couple of recruits from Florida each season under Mark Dantonio, but 2014 brought a new flavor from The Sunshine State.
With Fort Lauderdale St Thomas Aquinas running back Madre London in the fold, Tampa Catholic athlete T.J. Harrell gave the Spartans two commitments from Florida – two widely coveted recruits.
Harrell held offers from the likes of Florida State, Georgia, Louisville and Tennessee, but MSU pulled him out of the South for an official visit and then secured a commitment.
In London and Harrell, the caliber of Florida players the Spartans managed to receive commitments from was raised and that is the greatest impact with Harrell. That impact surpasses that overall athlete that projects to one of three positions at the next level (running back, safety or linebacker).
What is interesting with Harrell is he spoke very highly of Michigan State early in the process because his cousin, Jeremy Ware, played cornerback for MSU. He consistently said MSU would be in it until the end and as it turned out, it was the school in the end.
That speaks to the staying power of the Michigan State program at present that resonated with recruits far beyond Michigan and the Midwest.
Bringing in a strongly recruited player from Florida with in-state offers? It’s just a sign of the times in East Lansing.
As for the type of person Michigan State is getting, Southeast Field Reporter Amy Campbell shared about the person she has gotten to know in covering Harrell’s recruitment:
“They’re definitely going to get a character.” T.J. Harrell said of what Michigan State is getting in him. The word “character” hardly does justice to how outrageous this kid really is. This guy is always talking and always making people laugh. He’ll call it like he sees it, and he certainly sees things in interesting ways. There has never been a dull moment covering T.J. He is one of the funniest guys I have covered and his bluntness makes him that much funnier. I have laughed so much and often thought, “Did he really just say that? Should I be laughing at this?” And yes he did really just say that. He’s intense in every way – on and off the field. And this kid will take some heads off on the field. Michigan State fans have a lot to look forward to here.”