When 2010 Ohio safety Kurtis Drummond visited Michigan State recently, he came away impressed.
â€œI liked it a lot,â€ he told Spartan Nation of his trip. â€œI talked with the coaches, sat down and watched some film.â€
Drummond liked the facilities â€” â€œobviously real nice,â€ he said â€” but what had him thinking Green after the trip was the coaching staff.
â€œI got the vibe that they were real people,â€ Drummond said of the staff. â€œThey werenâ€™t feeding me lines just for recruitment.â€ But Drummond did a little homework while he was in East Lansing and spoke to a few current Spartans to get a different perspective.
â€œTalking to the players, that helped a lot, they werenâ€™t going to lie,â€ Drummond said. â€œThey gave me pretty good insight on everything and that helped my outlook on Michigan State.â€ Drummond said he sensed a culture of discipline at MSU and got a chance to see Spartan training in action.
â€œI got to see them work out a little bit, and all of them are hard working,â€ he said.
Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi has spearheaded Drummondâ€™s recruitment, but Kurtis got a chance to spend some quality time with Secondary Coach Harlon Barnett on his trip as well.
â€œ(Coach Narduzzi) is forward guy â€” heâ€™ll let you know where you stand, and I like that,â€ Drummond said. â€œHeâ€™s an honest man, and thatâ€™s the kind of coach Iâ€™m looking for.â€
With MSU gaining recruiting steam, and with the program ascending overall, Drummond explained why he thinks the Spartans are gaining respect, especially from recruits.
â€œTheyâ€™re not pushy,â€ he said. â€œThey talk to me, but they let me know they are not going to rush me into my decision. I like that about them.â€
At safety, where Drummond is primarily being recruited, the chance to do it all has much appeal.
â€œYouâ€™re just free to play, and I like that a lot,â€ Drummond said. â€œYou can come up and make hits, make big interceptions â€” I just like to make an impact.â€ And itâ€™s the rough and tumble nature of the gridiron that really tickles Drummond.
â€œProbably the physicality of it, you can take out your aggression on (your opponent)â€ he said. But itâ€™s more than that, he explains. â€œItâ€™s a team game,â€ he said. â€œI like to be in a family atmosphere and play together, and thatâ€™s one thing I saw at Michigan State was family atmosphere and I like that a lot.â€
Along with MSU, Drummond says a handful of schools stay in regular contact, including Michigan, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
â€œIâ€™ve basically narrowed it down to a few schools I want to go look at and find out more information about,â€ he said, most likely on official visits this fall. The recruiting process can be trying at times, but Drummond is trying to take it all in with an even keel. â€œI didnâ€™t expect it to blow up like this, but once it started calming down, itâ€™s been pretty fun, Iâ€™m having fun with it.â€
At Hubbard High School, Drummond is ready to begin smashing some pads. Fall practice begins soon for the team, but not soon enough for Kurtis.
â€œWeâ€™re more than ready,â€ he said, â€œweâ€™ve been working pretty hard.â€ Drummond particularly enjoys getting his teammates to excel: â€œI love being a leader. I love to speak out, lead by my actions. I love to be in control, I want to have the team follow me.â€
Thatâ€™s the kind of sentiment MSU Head Coach Mark Dantonio is looking for as he and his staff rebuild a Spartan tradition of excellence. And it seems to be working on recruits.
â€œRight now,â€ Drummond says of Michigan State, â€œIâ€™d say theyâ€™re sitting in a pretty good spot with me.â€