Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio Lands a Big Talent from the Lonestar State in 2015 CB Commit Josh Butler!
Texas is a gold mine of top notch high school football talent. College coaches from all across the country swarm the state to pursue some of the nation’s best recruits.
Landing a top prospect from the Lonestar State isn’t easy, however. Coaches often head home empty-handed.
In a recent venture into Texas, the Michigan State coaching staff enjoyed a much different experience. Dantonio and his fellow coaches hauled in one of the state’s best cornerbacks in the class of 2015, Josh Butler.
Enticed by MSU’s “No Fly Zone,” the West Mesquite, Texas native is ready to establish “Butler Island” in East Lansing.
Butler and his defensive backs coach at West Mesquite High School, Andrew Colvin, recently joined Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio to discuss the youngster’s exciting future at Michigan State.
Some cornerbacks are speedsters with amazing athleticism. Others are students of the game with the ability to see a play before it happens. Few have it all like Josh Butler.
The 5’11, 175 pound prospect has a special combination of deceptive athleticism and football smarts. Butler rarely gets beat, especially downfield. His skills make him valuable to just about any football program in the country.
“Josh has a good knowledge of the game. He can determine what route or what play is coming judging by the leverage or spot of the receiver and the speed of the takeoff of the receiver,” Colvin said. “His knowledge of the game is outstanding. His skills go along with that. He knows the concepts that receivers use and he plays off of that. That’s something that we coach off of.
“His style of play is based on how the receiver lines up and his speed in the route. Josh uses all of that because he’s smart enough to do it. He’s athletic enough to play with any receiver, and his long body gives him good ball skills. He can go up and get the ball at its highest point. He’s the kind of kid who can do it all if he wants to.”
College coaches crave a complete player like Butler. That’s why he received over 25 offers from prominent football programs such as Texas A&M, UCLA, and Boise State, among others.
But it was Michigan State that caught Butler’s eye.
The young Texan was one of millions who watched MSU defeat Stanford in the Rose Bowl. As a sea of green and white celebrated after the fulfilling win, Butler thought to himself, “I like the way they play, this is a good team.”
As winter turned to spring, Butler grew intrigued by the possibility of playing for a pair of former defensive backs – Dantonio and secondary coach Harlon Barnett. In late July, Butler finally decided to see Michigan State for himself. He embarked on the 49-hour journey by bus that would take him from his home in Texas to East Lansing.
“I really liked it a lot. They have great facilities,” he said.
The atmosphere was great, but Butler was looking for something else: a close bond with the coaches. Butler found that connection quickly.
“The coaching staff is a real family. They’ve been together for almost 11 years now,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to play for guys who made it that far, All-American, played in college, played in the NFL. I have a good experience with those coaches, and they’ll tell me how to make it to the league.”
Colvin couldn’t have been prouder of Butler’s decision.
“A lot of kids look to stay close to home, which is fine. A lot of kids look at facilities and who has the nicest uniforms. Josh made a great decision to look at a coach and a staff and a team that’s going to make him be the best he can be,” Colvin said. “To choose a school that’s far away, to do the research he did about Coach Dantonio and the defensive coordinator there, and how their defense has done in the past three seasons, that makes me excited for him. [MSU] is going to make him a beast and the best he can be.”
Butler picked the perfect place to develop into a standout player. It’s no secret that defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi loves to put his cornerbacks on an island.
Butler embraces the philosophy, and can’t wait for the chance to prove himself.
“I’ll take [wide receivers], isolate them, and put them on Butler Island,” he said.
From watching the youngster play, Colvin knows that the MSU system will allow Butler to thrive. It suits his personality well.
“He doesn’t look around and say, ‘I need help,’ and doesn’t look for others to make up for his mistakes,” the West Mesquite assistant coach said. “We played our rivals, and they had one of the top receivers in the state. The kid came into our game with 80+ catches for 900+ yards. When the game was over, they had thrown at Josh at least nine or ten times, and that receiver walked away with one catch for 11 yards. That’s because Josh was all over him.
“I know that when he goes to Michigan State and those guys coach him up to be the best he can be, he’s going to be the kind of defensive back that people don’t want to throw at. They’re going to game plan to throw away from him.”
The young cornerback fits the Spartan mold in his behavior, too.
Butler quietly takes care of his business in a professional manner.
“He’s a playmaker, but he’s not a flashy kid where he’s going to be jumping all over the field and talking trash,” Colvin said. “He’s a ‘Yes, sir’ or ‘No, sir,’ type of kid. He loves to be coached…He doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Whenever we play the top receiver from whatever team, he knows that he’s the guy who will covering that player. He self-scouts, he wants to be coached, he wants to be the kid everyone looks to make a play.”
Like a true Spartan, the future criminology student doesn’t shy away from hard work, especially in the classroom.
“Academics are very important to me,” he said. “I have a 3.9 GPA right now…My grades are why I have most of my offers, not because of football, but I still like taking care of business in the classroom.”
Butler has to finish off one more year at West Mesquite before he can become a Spartan. The Spartan Nation will eagerly await his arrival, as Colvin noted that Butler might bring along other players on his next trip to East Lansing.
“For [the MSU staff] to come down to Texas and get a kid like Josh and take him all the way up to Michigan State, a lot of people are going to look at that. Josh is the kind of kid who knows a lot of people, knows a lot of good athletes,” Colvin said. “When they look at Josh and see how well he’s done, and see how well he’s going to do at MSU when those guys get a hold of him, a lot of guys are going to follow him.”
The future is not only bright for Josh Butler, but for MSU football as well. Butler could be just the first of many gold nuggets to come from the great state of Texas. Either way, Butler Island is soon coming to East Lansing.