Mark Dantonioâ€™s 2012 recruiting class is already being lauded as one of his finest ever.Â Spartan Nation caught up with one incoming player who has already made his home at MSU by enrolling early.
There is no question Kyle Kerrick is a competitor who is willing to do what it takes to be successful.Â He enrolled early at MSU in January to begin classes and workouts, and while he is happy with his decision to do so, he says he is not surprised that more people do not choose to.
â€œItâ€™s not too surprising, because itâ€™s a big change,â€ he says.Â Itâ€™s really a big sacrifice.Â You donâ€™t get prom or any of those things that let you enjoy your senior year.Â All your friends are rolling through classes, and youâ€™re starting all over like itâ€™s the first day of school.â€
Kerrick has taken no time to stop and get acclimated, either, as he is determined to get ahead as much as possible in both his academics and athletics.Â In addition to his required early morning workouts, Kerrick puts in extra work each day on his game.
â€œThe whole point of coming down here now was to learn.Â Iâ€™m actually studying my playbook every night and am down in the indoor stadium running routes every night from 10:30 to 11:00.Â Iâ€™m just working hard.â€
His hard work ethic translates into the classroom, as well.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œI need a degree,â€ he says.Â â€œItâ€™s very important.Â Youâ€™ve got to keep your head in the books, because a lot of the time â€˜NFLâ€™ can stand for â€˜not for long,â€™ so in case anything happens youâ€™ve got to have a backup plan.â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Because of the importance he places on academics, Kerrick has been happy with the facilities at MSUâ€™s Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Support Center, which provides computer labs and free tutoring for student-athletes.Â Â â€œThe Smith is actually very important, because you spend a lot of time in there with the computer lab and with tutors for every class.Â Itâ€™s a big help.
â€œ(Classes) are only hard if you make them, but if you stay on top of your work and with your tutors its really not that bad at all.â€Â Tutors are not the only ones helping him learn.Â Kerrick says his older teammates have been willing to help with anything.Â â€œTheyâ€™ve been real cool, brought me in like a family member.Â Itâ€™s a very family-oriented thing here.â€Â Redshirted freshman wide receiver Keith Mumphery has been particularly helpful.
â€œOh yeah,â€ he says,Â â€œKeith put me onto the JUGS machine and helps me out after tutoring now and then.â€Â The JUGS machine throws out simulated passes, punts or kicks any place on the field for practice.
Working with the other guys has pushed him to work harder, too, as he is not one to be outdone.Â â€œIâ€™m never gonna doubt myself,â€ he says.Â â€œIâ€™m never gonna pick myself to lose.â€
His competitive drive translates to everything he does â€“ even playing X-Box withÂ his dorm roommate, Tennessee transfer and freshman wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett of Saginaw.Â â€œOf course Iâ€™m gonna talk smack to him in X-Box,â€ he says.Â â€œIâ€™m a competitor!Â Iâ€™m never gonna bow down to someone ever.Â Iâ€™m always in it to win.â€
With his motivation and all this extra practice, Coach Dantonio believes Kerrick could contribute early, and Kerrick speaks just as highly about Coach D.Â â€œHeâ€™s great.Â I can already tell he teaches you about overall aspects for life and builds you into a man to prepare you for life, whether you go on to play more football or not.â€
Enrolling early has given Kerrick the chance to learn the ropes early, which is exactly why he came when he did.Â â€œI can learn more here than staying at home.Â Whatever it takes to win.Â Iâ€™ve just got to contribute.â€