Jonathan Hankins has had a chance to get to know Michigan State over the past year, and the young man likes what he sees. The 6-foot-3, 307 pound defensive lineman stacks up well against other in-state big men vying for the attention of college programs, and head coach Mark Dantonio and the Spartan staff know how important the trenches are to winning football.
Hankins received a visit from MSU coaches in school last week and reports a pleasant meeting, with assistants checking in on how the young man is doing in school — very well, he says, with plans to retake the ACT soon — and how he is doing with his workout regimen. “I like the (MSU) coaches,” he says, “They’re laid back.”
One of Hankins “good friends,” star defensive end and teammate William Gholston, is Hankins workout buddy. The pair help keep their Detroit Southeastern Jungaleer team as together as possible through out the offseason. The duo will likely be in East Lansing next month for a summer camp, where Hankins says he expects an offer if he performs well.
During the offseason, staying conditioned is perhaps the biggest challenge, Hankins says, so he runs regularly. But the real test comes in August when he straps up for two-a-days before he begins his final high school season.
“The conditioning will be tough,” he says, “but once I’m out there a day or two, I’ll be alright.”
Hankins says he has eight offers on the board, the most notable from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and, Hankins claims after being asked several times, Ohio State. MSU and Michigan have both pointed to summer camps as times when they might extend an offer as well. Other programs showing interest in Hankins include Florida and North Carolina.
Hankins has great speed for his size and plays the middle of the defense like a wrecking ball. His goal for next season? “To not have anyone score on me,” he says. With Gholston on the same D-line, points are going to be awfully difficult to come by against the Jungaleers.
In addition to the young man’s raw physical attributes and talent, Hankins plays with a chip on his shoulder. What is it that he likes most about playing football? “Hitting people,” he says with the hint of a laugh. “You don’t get to do that in other places.”
He also points to the style of play at Southeastern as a bonus. The Jungaleers blitz a lot, he says, and perform stunts with lineman, a style of play that correlates nicely with Michigan State’s own defensive system.
Next up for Hankins, though, after summer camps, is focusing on his senior season and whipping tail for Southeastern. He says a decision will wait until after the season, on advice of his high school coach, both to keep the distractions to a minimum, but also to make sure every school that wants to offer him has the chance. “He (coach) says there are about four or five more schools that should be offering,” Hankins says.