When head coach Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State staff target kids for recruiting, they’re always looking for players they can, as they’ve stated in the past, “coach up.” Teaching the game is an important part of the culture of MSU football, with players studiously analyzing film and coaches who map plays and formations on white boards, only to ask a player from the audience to step to the front of the class and map every other player’s assignments.
So when they hear a player like Latwan Anderson talk, it must make music in their ears. “When I was younger, I was always the kind of kid that thought speed, speed, speed,” Anderson told Spartan Nation. “But once I got to high school, I learned it’s not al about speed and making the big hit. It’s the technique of the game.”
Anderson will be entering a new school this year, the famed Glennville football factory in Cleveland, Ohio. But it’s his old high school, Lakewood St. Edwards, that provides him with a link to Michigan State. At St. Edwards, Anderson got to know MSU basketball frosh forward Delvon Roe.
MSU appeals to Anderson because of the program’s focus on family and academics.
“One of the questions I asked coach Dantonio when I first met him was what is the graduation rate for football players,” Anderson said. “He told me it wasn’t really good at first, but since he’s been there, it’s been 68 percent, I think he said, and that’s a long way from what it was. I think that’s a real good thing, because you can play football, but it’s just a game, and after football, you need something else.”
The compassion of the Spartan staff hasn’t been lost on Anderson either. “When I first spoke to Coach Dantonio, he told me that if I ever needed help, if I was to come to Michigan State, they would be the first to help me,” Anderson said. “He was just a phone call away.”
Dozens of teams are courting Anderson, most from the Midwest, but including powerhouses such as Georgia and Miami. Those squads, along with MSU, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, West Virginia, Boston College and others have extended offers. Two notable teams who have not offered are Penn State and Ohio State, and recently Anderson placed the Mountaineers and Spartans in his top two. He plans to announce a decision at the All American game.
A particularly useful recruiting edge Dantonio possesses when it comes to Anderson is the young man’s position in the secondary. Recruited as a safety with the talent to man up at corner, the 5-foot-11, 185 pound speedster says the fact that Dantonio would be hands on could be very important.
“It helps a lot just because I know he’s played my position,” Anderson said. “He knows how tough it is, so I think I can learn things from him to help me better my game.”
For a peek at Anderson’s game, click through the following LINK.
All in all, though, when it comes to MSU, it’s the people that matter most. “I really like the coaches,” Anderson said. “I feel like if I would go there, they would be there and won’t leave while I’m there. … I met a few of the players, and they all told me the same thing about the coaches, they’re really great people and you can call them, talk to them, tell them problems no matter what it is. You can just let them know about it.”