Former Spartan Football Player Why 2025 Commit DJ White is an Old School Spartan Dawg-Type Player

Former Michigan State Spartan walk-on Sean Clouse played for coach and football Icon George Perles. He told Spartan Nation why everyone should be excited for three-star linebacker DJ White and what makes White a Perles-type player.
Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; General view of Michigan State Spartans helmet on field prior to a game against Western Michigan at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; General view of Michigan State Spartans helmet on field prior to a game against Western Michigan at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports / Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Clouse was a walk-on for the Michigan State Spartans in the mid-1980s. Legendary head coach George Perles was at the helm, a man who coached equally legendary Spartan icons like running back Lorenzo White, the Big Ten's first ever rusher to reach the 2,000-yard mark, Lombardi Award-winning linebacker Percy Snow, and Super Bowl-champions with productive NFL careers in linebacker Carl Banks and wide receiver Andre Rison.

Clouse witnessed the 1988 Rose Bowl victory against the Rodney Peete-led USC Trojans first-hand. Now, he coaches Spartans' 2025 linebacker commit DJ White in track for Orchard Lake St. Mary's High School.

I met with Clouse and White on a rainy Saturday at Hamilton High School, located about an hour south of Muskegon, Michigan. White had made the MHSAA Division II state finals for the second-consecutive year in the 110-meter hurdles.

Clouse clued me into what made the three-star linebacker so special:

"One day at a time, one play at a time. That was a big thing I got from [Perles]. Another thing he always used to talk about was just, 'Shut your mouth and work hard' ... [White] does what Perles wanted, he keeps his mouth shut and he works hard. And he does what he's supposed to do, and a little bit more. He just works hard, and he's got a quiet demeanor about him ... He's going to be very [good]."

Clouse touted White's ability, saying that there was "no ceiling" for the young linebacker.

"I've watched him, he's got all the tools, he got the desire and work ethic," Clouse said. "I really think he can go. Already talking about the next level after college. That's a possibility, I can see that ... He's got great feet, you see that when he runs the hurdles, how he can move his large frame and he can do stuff that little guys can't. So he's got size, and speed, but he's got footwork. Really good footwork."

Clouse played outside linebacker for Perles at 5-foot-8, 177-pounds, "according to the real world" -- not the media guide. Clouse's defensive coordinator was none other than eventual seven-time national champion Nick Saban.

"He was tough, you know. As a player, you disliked him tremendously. Looking back at him, you knew he was a really good coach. He expected excellence," Clouse said. "Discipline and excellence."

White, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound linebacker, committed in late April. He was the Spartans' second commit of the 2025 class. The Green and White now have six commits in the class.

Michael France is Sports Illustrated's Michigan State recruiting beat writer, covering all things Big Ten recruiting for Spartan Nation. Be sure to follow him on Twitter/X@michaelfrancesi for exclusive Spartans recruiting coverage.

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Michael France

MICHAEL FRANCE