January 13, 2008
Balogun impressed with Spartans
Last week SpartanMag.com reported that Michigan State would be hosting one of the top junior college linebacker prospects in the nation, Mike Balogun of Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania. We spoke with the talented prospect a few minutes ago and he gave us some details about his visit to Big Ten Country.
"The visit was excellent," Balogun said. "Coach Dantonio is a great person. I really had a great time. I got to hang-out with the players and spend time with Coach Tressel. My host was Justin Kershaw. He was real cool. He introduced me to the other players and answered my questions. I enjoyed finding out what Michigan State is all about."
Did Coach Dantonio and Coach Tressel talk about the depth situation at linebacker and where they see you fitting in?
"Yes they did. They told me that they are recruiting me to come in and be a starter. That's what they want from me. They said they like my size as a middle-linebacker, but the fact that I can run means that I could also be used as a strong-side linebacker."
The Spartans are doing a lot of upgrades right now to the facilities. What did you think about all that is going on there?
"That is going to be awesome when everything is finished," Balogun stated. "They said everything will be done in June. The stadium was one of the best I have seen. The weight room, the academics, the player's lounge, everything was first class."
Do you have a time frame for making your decision?
"Yes, I will probably make my decision next week when I return from my visit to Oklahoma. They called up my coach and asked if I would be interested in visiting them, so I am going out there next weekend. When I get back I will be able to compare the two schools and make a choice that is best for me."
The fact that the Sooners have gotten involved does not surprise SpartanMag.com. If anything it just goes to show just what type of player the Spartan staff is going after.
Junior college prospects are much more analytical about their decision making then high school kids. JUCO prospects go to a school because they want to make the most of their limited time of eligibility. The Spartans offer an excellent opportunity from a playing time situation.
The staff prior to Coach Dantonio did not address the linebacker position as well as the current coaches would have liked.
A player like Balogun could come in and not only bridge the gap between now and when some younger guys develop, but help the Spartan's take another step toward Big Ten championships.
Coach Dantonio brought in a JUCO MIKE while at Cincinnati and he ended up being 1st Team All-Big East. Certainly the hope is Balogun can come to Michigan State and follow a similar path.
SpartanMag.com will be following up with Balogun as his recruitment unfolds over the next week to ten days.
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