Despite the team’s offensive line being cause for worry early in the 2011 campaign, Michigan State fans should be excited about the future at the positions. Not only did last year’s young line mature significantly over the course of the season, but the Spartans have at least two strong prospects joining the team in 2012. Spartan Nation Radio caught up with one of them – Zach Higgins of Alliance, Ohio.
If there is one thing this future Spartan loves to do, it is terrorize opponents.
“I like to kill people,” he says. “That’s my thing. This is going to be a dream.”
It is clear that he enjoys it, as the force of his hits would land him in prison if used anywhere outside of the football field.
“Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?”
This two-sport athlete credits his high school wrestling workouts for much of his football success.
“(Wrestling) is all about footwork and leverage and everything,” he says. “It really teaches you how to stay low and use your body to your advantage to get the next person. The jump roping coach has me do every morning really helps.”
It is not just the green and white’s position as a national defensive powerhouse that led to Higgins’ decision to become a Spartan, however.
“It was everything,” he tells us. “The campus, the coaches, the people. It was all just right. Most places you go you get maybe one or two good things, but they have everything. It’s like a big family and that’s what really mattered to me. I’m gonna be four and a half hours away from home, so I wanted to make it feel like home as much as I could, and that’s what they did. That’s why I decided to go there.”
He does have a Michigan State connection, too, as Spartan strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie played with one of his high school coaches at Akron.
“They’re kinda the same,” he says, “so I’m excited. They’re both kinda crazy.”
Mannie’s “craziness” is sure to help this 310-pound lineman become even bigger and stronger from the day he moves to East Lansing, and that is just fine with Higgins.
“I’m super excited. It’s all about being physical. Gotta get my hands on people, you know?”
While this on-field killer may just seem like some sort of brute, that could not be farther from the truth. This is because everything changes the moment he steps off the gridiron.
“My mom and dad raised me right, taught me to be respectable and honest and a good man. My dad is so supportive it’s sometimes almost a little bit embarrassing, but I love him for that.”
He must have gotten over the embarrassment at some point, as he says his father Cecil is the first person he goes to after each game.
“He means the world to me, man. He’s like my hero. I’m really gonna miss him when I’m gone.”