Spartan Incoming QB Finished with Big 33 and Ready for East Lansing
After over a year of waiting, his time has finally come. At long last, incoming freshman Damion Terry will journey to East Lansing and become a Spartan.
Highly sought-after recruit Damion Terry committed to Michigan State back in April 2012. At the time, June 2013 seemed a long way away. But over a year later, Terry is set to report to campus to begin his highly anticipated Michigan State career. Many are touting the dual-threat quarterback as the teamâ€™s signalcaller of the future. Some are already asking questions such as, â€œWill Terry become the greatest Michigan State quarterback of all time?â€
Terry will be stepping under the microscope once he steps onto campus on June 27th. Thirsty for a winner and another great quarterback, the Spartan Nation is excited to see what Terry can do. Expectations are high for the Erie, Pennsylvania native, who steered his team to a state championship last season.
The newest Spartan recently joined Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio to talk about his journey to East Lansing, among other topics.
Damion Terry does not draw attention to himself. He is not one to brag or boast about his accomplishments or skills- his numbers do the talking. The spotlight manages to find him anyway. Part of the reason might be Terryâ€™s outstanding senior campaign. The incoming MSU freshman racked up 3,599 yards and 50 touchdowns, leading Erie Cathedral Prep to a 15-0 record. Some see the stats as an indication that the youngster can take the Spartans to the Promised Land and etch his name in the MSU record books. But Terry is not ready to anoint himself as the programâ€™s savior yet.
â€œItâ€™s just fans being fans, and Iâ€™m supportive of it,â€ he said. â€œI like it, butâ€¦let me get on campus first, let me practice, let me get used to the speed of the game before you start jumping and making high expectations.â€
Terry doesnâ€™t want to bring anyone down, but he doesnâ€™t want to disappoint fans by not living up to unrealistic expectations. As he pointed out, not every young phenom makes an impact right away. â€œThereâ€™s a lot of great players who donâ€™t come in or contribute until their junior year, but become one of their greatest players ever. It takes a little while to adjust to the game.â€
Regardless of the hype, Terry is psyched to finally become a Spartan. He has been waiting for this moment for a long time. â€œIâ€™m really excited, I canâ€™t even think about it right now,â€ Terry exclaimed. â€œIâ€™m just looking forward to it, itâ€™s going to be a good time.â€
Rarely does an incoming freshman have a chance to compete for the starting quarterback spot. But after a tough 2012 season for the MSU offense, the quarterback spot is up for grabs. The odds are slim that Terry will claim the starting role, but the chance remains. Incumbent starter Andrew Maxwell, as well as backups Connor Cook and Tyler Oâ€™Connor, will be vying for the top spot too. Each has a leg up on Terry in terms of experience and time at MSU, but Terry holds a distinct advantage: his running ability.
Much like current NFL quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick, Terry excels in a read option offense. His ability to make plays with his feet makes defensive coordinators cringe. Though Michigan State quarterbacks have typically been pro-style, primarily stationary quarterbacks in the past, Terry could change that assumption, and with it, the teamâ€™s offense.
As popular as the read option has become, few besides coaches and players know how the play works. With Terry coming to campus, Spartan fans might want to learn about the play in-depth. As the talented youngster explained, he keys in on â€œwhatever the [defensive] end does. The good thing about the read option is you can always see what the [defensive] end is going to do or what heâ€™s been doing if youâ€™re running a play over and over.â€ Terry continued, â€œYou kind of know what heâ€™s going to do on the next time itâ€™s called. If I keep giving [the running back] the ball, heâ€™s coming at me, not even paying attention to the running back, one play heâ€™s chasing the running back, and I pull. Itâ€™s a great play because it always leaves the defense second guessing themselves and it gives them a hard time.â€
In running the play at MSU, one major aspect will change for Terry: game speed. Big Ten defensive ends will be much quicker than any Terry saw at the high school level. â€œIt just makes decisions quicker. Just the speed of the game: everyoneâ€™s fast. Knowing that the defensive end could maybe look like heâ€™s going to tackle the running back but at the same time, when you pull it, heâ€™s running down and chasing you, on your back,â€ he said. â€œYou just have to get used to the speed of the game, make smarter reads, and adjust to it.â€
But before he changes the MSU offense, Terry must learn it in its current form. He doesnâ€™t yet know â€œthe whole thing, just bits of it here and there.â€ Terry recently sat down with quarterbacks coach Brad Salem and fellow incoming freshman Delton Williams to go over the offense. â€œJust a little spring version of it, not the full playbook or the real deal, just to show me the basics of the offense, the bread and butter plays.â€
Adjusting to the speed of the game and learning the playbook will be much easier with veteran head coach Mark Dantonio helping Terry every step of the way. The Pennsylvania native will also need Dantonio, and the rest of the Spartan coaching staff, to help ease the culture shock that incoming college freshmen typically experience. The newest Spartan has already become acclimated to one very important part of the programâ€™s history: its rivalry with Michigan.
â€œJust from talking to other recruits, having them explain their hate for the team,â€ Terry said of how he came to discover the true nature of the rivalry. â€œI really didnâ€™t start understanding it until Michigan fans started Tweeting me, and I just laughed. Thatâ€™s when it started hitting me- this rivalry is [big]. Iâ€™m looking forward to playing Michigan this year at Spartan Stadium. Itâ€™s going to be fun.â€
As much as Terry is anticipating the November 2 matchup with Michigan, there is one game that might mean even more to him: MSUâ€™s game at Penn State in 2014. â€œThat would be one of the best games I could pick besides the Rose Bowl and the National Championship,â€ Terry began. â€œPlaying against Penn State, itâ€™s my home state, a lot of people I know from the state would be there. Playing your home state, like for the Michigan kids who go to State [to] play Michigan, itâ€™s that extra fire every kid gets from playing against their home state rival. I canâ€™t wait, I canâ€™t even imagine what itâ€™s going to be like.â€
But before Terry can lead the Spartans to victory over their rivals, he must first journey to East Lansing and pass the conditioning workouts, a summer ritual for incoming freshmen. â€œItâ€™s going to be difficult, running that and stuff,â€ Terry said. â€œBut I think Iâ€™ll be able to do it.â€ The young student-athlete should not have too much trouble adjusting to the physical regimen, as Terry is in great shape. â€œIâ€™m always working out, I donâ€™t feel like thereâ€™s much of an offseason in football because itâ€™s all year long, just getting your body right.â€
No matter where Terry lands on the depth chart come the fall, he can count on one person to be there every step of the way: his mom. â€œI know my mom is probably my biggest fan. Sheâ€™s going to try to make it to every single game, even though itâ€™s five and a half hours away.â€
The time is nigh for a young man who has seemingly been deemed the next great Spartan quarterback. The incoming freshman with a rocket arm and quick feet arrives in East Lansing on June 27th to become a Spartan. With this outstanding young player and person comes a sense of excitement and great potential. Though the time has flown by for Damion Terry, he could not be more prepared for this moment. â€œI never would have thought that it would come this fast, but Iâ€™m really looking forward to it and I know itâ€™s going to be the best four years of my life,â€ Terry said.