The people in Asbury were more concerned with Ohio State than the Spartans.
“My area was all Ohio State fans, so that is all I grew up hearing was ‘Go Buckeyes,’” the Spartans senior safety said.
So as the Hubbard High School standout ended his recruitment by committing to play at Michigan State over a host of other offers, some people questioned his decision. In the course of the past few years, that perception has changed.
”When I was getting ready to commit, a lot of people were asking, ‘Why aren’t you going to Michigan or another school like that?’” Drummond said. “I don’t think at first a lot of people really had respect for Michigan State.
”Now when I go home, you won’t hear questions about why I chose Michigan State.”
Admittedly, Drummond did not know much about Michigan State either before he made his commitment. A high school teacher who had coached defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi had suggested he take a look at the Spartans, so he took that advice and checked out the program.
“When I took the visit and saw the type of people that were here and the guys that were on the team and the coaching staff and the support system, I fell in love with it,” he said.
”It is definitely crazy. I never would have seen myself being at Michigan State.”
Now that he is entering his final season in East Lansing, he has seen the change in perception after the 42 wins in four seasons since Drummond first set foot on campus. It certainly has not hurt that the Spartans have gone 2-1 against Ohio State in that timeframe, including last year’s Big Ten Championship Game 34-24 win in Indianapolis.
Even though he has been starting for much of the past two seasons, Drummond said he does not know how much or how big a role he has played in changing that perception.
”The recruiting classes that Coach D has brought in and the way we gel together, I think that has helped in itself, just the type of people he has brought in and the character they have,” he said.
Either way, he sees first hand the way comments at home have turned from doubts to jokes and trash talk. He even has seen a few converts.
“I still go home and people mess with me and still talk about stuff and how mad they were and how happy they were if we lose to them,” he said. ”I have converted a few people, but there are a lot of people there to convert.”
The work of continuing to convert people from Ohio into Spartan fans will soon be passed to another Hubbard product, as running back L.J. Scott has verbally committed to Michigan State in the 2015 class.
After all, the battle to improve perception remains despite the strides made in the past few years.
”I think Michigan State is starting to gain more respect,” he said. “I personally don’t think they have all the respect they should have, but I definitely think it’s part of a respect level and guys are starting to realize the type of people and type of coaching staff here.”