Latest information on ROJO

Hondo S. Carpenter

With the recruitment of ROJO coming down to the wire, SpartanNation.com has done a lot of research and gathered some very interesting information.

Â
Is MSU still in the running for this prized recruit?
Yes they are. Coach Dantonio will be seeing ROJO on Friday and MSU is still very much in the hunt.Â

Â
Why is MSU still in the running?
First let me say that ROJO and his family have a great affinity for MSU head coach Mark Dantonio. Late last night someone very close to ROJO told me: “he is a straight up guy. He hasn’t come in here with a lot of promises. He has come in with a lot of you do what you know you’re capable of and will do what we have to do. They are real big on personal responsibility at MSU. They treat you like a man and expect you to act like it. They don’t fool around with guys that aren’t tough and smart. They are telling him if he works hard then he will determine if he is ready to leave after three years. They say that the NFL is up to any kid that is willing to work. I know that he likes that MSU is pursuing ROJO the man. They keep telling him that MSU football is about a family. He also likes that they are trying to make MSU football what MSU basketball is all about.” Dantonio's faith is also central to the family.

Â
What are the MSU coaches telling him?
ROJO is being told that they feel he is an immediate shut down corner. They have talked with him and broke down film how a Narduzzi defense is an attack and beat you up approach. They also have told him that since he has said his dream is to go pro then look at the CB’s that have been first round picks. They are shut down corners. They have stressed that in the Narduzzi defense, he puts his corners on an island in man to man to allow his LB’s and safeties to “attack and kill” making a corner with the talent, in a great position to show that off. A source close to ROJO said to me yesterday “…they have really told him that his work ethic will determine his pro ability. They have also stressed that their defense will make him look like a champ or a chump. If he can shut people down then this is where he needs to be. If he has some concerns about his ability then maybe he needs to go somewhere that will get him some help. They told him that they believe in him, it is now for him to decide if he does. I really think that was smart. He doesn’t suffer from lack of confidence and they want him to know that they are ready to go to work with him right away.”

Â
They are also telling him that they could see him getting reps at WR and KR or PR. This is where their honesty again showed through. “They aren’t going to waste him and take chances with injury playing a UAB as a kick returner. They do see him against a UM and Notre Dame getting a chance to do what Rogers wouldn’t and that is making plays on special teams. They are real smart about using guys,” that was from a source at his school that I have known for over 10 years. As far as a WR prospect, they are very confident he has the ability and if he can handle double duty and if can earn it on the offense then he can get that chance also. The crucial point is that they have not come in promising him the world. They are telling him if he takes care of his business on D then he can earn chances everywhere else.

Â
Â
What role has Jim Tressel played in this resurgence of MSU?
Anyone who saw Coach Tressel on my news last week talking about Coach Dantonio is well aware of the affinity between these two men. It was proven here. Although ROJO has not “eliminated’ OSU officially, when Tressel talked with him recently and sensed that OSU may not get him, he went off on a 45 minute talk (according to a source very close to ROJO and confirmed by a UF source) about Dantonio and how great of a defensive mind he was. He went as far as telling ROJO and is family “I couldn’t be more proud if my son played for him. I truly love him like a brother. He was the first person I called when I got the job at OSU because he knows defense, and his defense got me a National Championship.” In Tressel’s honor, the family was so impressed with his passionate endorsement of Dantonio and MSU, that it got him (Tressel) even more respect. “That really hit home with Ronald. He respects loyalty and when Coach Tressel talked about Dantonio having a National Championship ring, it really was a big deal,” said the family source. “Ronald is all about championships and it really hit home that MSU has a National Championship winning coach. That was something I have heard him talk about a couple of times now.”

Â
Who else is he considering?
The University of Florida seems to be the other school that all of the parties involved keep mentioning. I talked last night after the Florida game with a source inside the Gator football program and he told me “I really think it is us and MSU. I know that Coach Tressel really talked highly of Mark and that made a big impression, but so did Dantonio. MSU is a good school but I really think it is down to us (UF) and them (MSU) and I would have to think that with his brother going and how close to home it would be for his family that MSU would have the lead.”

Â
That said, OSU and USC have not been nor am I implying that they are out. No one has said that, I am simply saying that those parties who are very close are talking about MSU and UF. I will say this. Joe Barksdale had eliminated LSU from his thought process also, until after Les Miles wowed him and he really felt a change of heart, so until he says Sunday, it is all on the table.

Â
What happened that hindered UM?
Every single person I spoke to made it very clear that Ron English did nothing to hinder this. To the point that I really believe they wanted to make that obvious. With that said, one prevailing impression I continued to get was that UM expected ROJO and he is not one to be forced or pushed into doing something. I am not saying that UM is out of it. I am saying that they were hindered. That much is very obvious. I do not however want to assume anything.

Â
Â
What do I think happens?
This is s sticky situation. When I sent a crew to Detroit and we talked to Joe Barksdale, I reported that MSU had a chance, and they did. Sadly when he went to LSU I got ripped. When I reported that Tom Izzo wanted the MSU coaching job, and he did, I got ripped. My point is this people get emotional in one way or the other and it is time to kill the messenger.Â

Â
I do not believe anyone (including ROJO) knows what he is going to do. I am 100% certain however that he knows what he won’t do. That said he had a great visit in Florida and I think that MSU is very much in the hunt. I give us, after talking to so many people close to him, and at Florida, that MSU has about a 35% chance.

Â
I will be there (I am canceling my trip to the Super Bowl) to cover the press conference even with in my opinion a 65% chance he won’t come here. Why? Because that is much too big of a story to miss with a 35% chance of hitting the jackpot! Since the odds are against ROJO coming here some will call me an idiot for missing the Super Bowl for the story. So be it. If he does pick MSU then I will be able to have all the information on what would be a very big fish for Dantonio.

Â

THANKS FOR READING SPARTAN NATION
Register today for free or log in to access this premium article.
Comments

Football

FEATURED
COMMUNITY