Paul Jorgensen is a 6-foot-7, 275 pound offensive lineman from DeWitt High School with a scholarship offer from the team he grew up rooting for. And if he pulls the trigger for MSU, it could be a match made in football heaven.
"That was a big deal," he said of the Spartan scholarship offer. "In this recruiting process, with Michigan State being my favorite team, that was always kind of a goal for me just to get that offer."
Jorgensen is not quite ready to make a decision yet, though. The young man, an outstanding student also being recruited by Stanford, Northwestern and much of the Big Ten, plans to attend a few camps throughout this month, beginning with MSU's camp today and a visit to Northwestern on Sunday. If he feels like he's ready to make one of the biggest decisions of his life, he'll tell his lucky future coach after camping, but if he's not feeling certain, he'll put the recruiting process in his back pocket and focus on his senior season at DeWitt.
"I want to make a decision end of June, early July, that's what I've been kind of feeling" he says. "But I just want to make it when it feels right to me, talk with my parents and my head coach. I've written down all the positives and negatives of all the schools. I kind of feel like I have a good feel for all of the schools and I just wanted to take a couple more trips before I make any decisions."
Jorgensen approaches the process with a level head. "I guess there's not any wrong decision," he says of choosing a school, "but there are better decisions than others," so he says he's not afraid to take his time.
Jorgensen receives a tremendous amount of mail from schools all over the country and is proud to have met many Big Ten coaches. At times, though, recruiting can become demanding on a young man's time, and when NCAA regulations allow coaches to make phone calls, Jorgensen says his phone rings off the hook.
When he's not networking, Jorgensen's focus is on doing his duty as a teammate. He's a leader and was a captain last season on his DeWitt team, which recently met for an offseason camp.
"I feel like I'm one of the bigger leaders on the team along with a couple other guys," he says. "I feel like I know all the guys pretty well. Growing up with them, I've been close to most of them, and they come to me with anything."
Being a leader means stepping up and becoming a voice on the team. Last season, along with a few other players, Paul had the opportunity to tell his comrades in a speech why he would make a good captain. His message resonated, and as a junior, he earned the respect of his peers and was honored with captaincy.
"I was one of four guys that were chosen," he said. "To have the respect of the upperclassmen, it just made me feel good that they all looked up to me."
So regardless of how recruiting shakes out, Jorgensen keeps his focus trained on building a championship senior season for his Panthers.
"That comes first before all this recruiting stuff," he says, "I feel like this is my senior season and I want to be able to focus on this â€” this comes first before everything else recruiting. This is my team and my friends."
Spartan Nation will take a closer look at how Paul earned his scholarship offer from MSU and the relationship he has with coach Mark Dantonio and the Spartan staff early next week in part two of this story.