Sports are an amazing thing for so many reasons. One of those reasons is the way it can touch our emotions good or bad. How often do the negative media run to tell the story of one bad apple athlete only to forego telling the story of the 100 who are doing it right?
If you are looking for a negative story on MSU captain and safety Kurtis Drummond you better take your time and bring a lunch, because it is going to be tough. Drummond admittedly came to MSU an immature kid, but over his time in East Lansing he has blossomed into not only a high level NFL draft pick, but more importantly and educated, mature and terrific man.
Drummond has become the man that every father wants as a son and every mother wants her daughter to marry, and NOT because he is a football player. He is respectful, caring and a true gentleman. BUT. Yes a big BUT. With a smile as genuine and as wide as Texas, he is also beast to be feared on the football field.
Not even Drummond himself would have predicted a captainship of this team early in his career at MSU. Fortunately his commitment to himself and embracing of his shortcomings will have him walking off the field when the senior campaign is over as one of the all-time great young men to wear the green and white. On and off the field.
He was moved to get this recognition and responsibility. Hidden behind his famous smile, the young man held back emotional tears. He wasn’t seeking the honor of a captainship. That isn’t his way. One of the nation’s elite safeties would never tell you that. He would rather praise teammates, thank coaches and brag on the love of his life: Mom!
There are a lot of terrific young men on this football team who either are or could have been captains, but none shine brighter than Drummond. He was a fantastic choice. Every young player on this team and immature older player can look to him as the role model, the example and the leader who can say follow me. I’ve been there, but join me over here.
I spoke with Mark Dantonio about Drummond just after he was picked and his coach couldn’t hide his excitement that his team picked the young man. Here is that conversation:
Hondo: You have had a lot of players who matured over their time with you as people, but have you ever been more proud of the young man a player has become than Kurtis Drummond?
Dantonio: We’ve had a lot of players go through here experience exactly the same thing and Kurtis is just another one of those guys. I think his teammates recognize that fact. He’s been a leader on the field for us and he’s been a very very solid guy. Sort of unwavering. Whether something bad on the field or an injury or whatever the case he has just been able to maintain his composure. I think that shows. He’s just a very mature guy and now he has the opportunity to lead our team.
Below is a transcript of a conversation Drummond had with some of the media moments after learning he was picked as a captain.
Drummond: We need a team full of leaders. Not just those with the title captain. I won’t walk around any differently. I will still conduct myself the same way. They guys who have been leading the entire summer are going to continue to lead and continue to push their guys too.
Hondo: Shilique Calhoun is the happy go lucky guy. Travis Jackson is kind of in the middle guy so does that make you the hammer?
Drummond: No. I’m pretty laid back, but I will definitely call guys out. That is what you have to do sometimes, you can’t let things slide. I think we all are just a part of a good nucleus of guys that understand what needs to be done. There are more guys than us who can lead and that makes our job easier.
Hondo: You were never a bad kid, but you certainly have grown up. Are you able to look back at the kid you were when you got here and appreciate how far you have come not as a football player, but as a young man?
Drummond: I remember joking with guys like Keshawn Martin and Dana Dixon and wondering if I would ever be an honorary captain one day. For that to happen and for me to be in the group of captains we have had here is truly a blessing. When I see younger guys, goofing off and doing some of the things I did it reminds me of my young self. Seeing Coach Barnett every day it reminds me of how much he has helped me mature and it’s just truly a blessing that I came here. The type of person I have become I can just new nothing more than thank them.
Hondo: If you took away all the success as a football player and just looked at your success in the classroom and growing in to a man, could you have made a better choice for your life when you picked Michigan State to attend?
Drummond: No, no. This is definitely the best decision I have ever made. I graduate in December and that is something that nobody in my immediate family has ever done. It has truly been a blessing. God has a plan for everybody, and I am just glad my mom helped and steered me into following God’s plan. Everything played out and has been playing out in a favorable way. It’s just truly a blessing. It’s just a blessing.
Q: How does the actual vote take place?
Drummond: Through our camp we voted on our Eagle group, so we had twelve guys. Just this morning we voted for three guys from that twelve. Right after practice Coach D told everyone who was elected captain. Just a square or rectangle piece of paper and you write your three choices, fold it up and pass it down the aisle.
Hondo: No puff of white smoke from the Duffy like the Vatican when they elect a new Pope?
Drummond: Nah, nah not like that. (Laughter)
Q: So when does Dantonio tell you?
Drummond: After practice when we got done running, guys were tired. He just called out the three names, guys applauded and he had us go up and address the team.
Q: What did you say?
Drummond: I basically just thanked them. It was eye opening and a blessing to see the respect they have for me. I could do nothing but thank them and tell them as much as I can that I am going to be working hard for them this year.
Q: What was that moment like to hear your name?
Drummond: It sent chills down my body and put a big smile on my face. I’m still smiling from it. It is just very humbling and it’s a blessing.
Hondo: When you call Mom what will that be like?
Drummond: She might cry. My mom might cry so I will see her in a little bit because that is definitely the first person I am going to call.
Q: When you look at Shilique Calhoun and Travis Jackson you have to be the mean one right?
Drummond: I think we all are pretty good guys, and understand what we want to accomplish this year. So when it is time to work I think we all have our other side to motivate guys. We’ll have fun with guys, but they will understand when it is time to work it is time to work.
Q: How do you lead and this group of captains lead?
Drummond: I will continue to be myself and I will continue to motivate and push guys. I try to have fun. As a unit we will continue to work together as we have all through the summer. We still have our group of Eagles and guys that weren’t even made Eagles because there are so many guys with the ability to lead. It makes our job easier when you have so many guys that could have been captains and are leaders on your team. Guys understand what we want to accomplish this year and guys are ready to come to work.
Q: Is Connor Cook one of those guys not an Eagle, but you expect to lead?
Drummond: Yeah. That goes without talking about. Connor Cook is a great leader and there are so many guys that can lead and be captains. That is why this (being elected a captain) is even more of a blessing. Having your teammates vote for you in this position there many guys who will continue to lead and have a positive impact on this team.