Khari Willis has a Michigan State offer in football, but not one in basketball yet from the Spartans. (Scout.com)
Khari Willis has the Jackson Lumen Christi basketball team off to an undefeated start this season, and that is coming on the heels of a football season in which he rushed for 1,565 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has scholarship offers in both sports, most recently Michigan State for football, and is a bona-fide star at his school. However, his unique home life has kept him grounded.
“He comes from a great family,” Titans head football coach Herb Brogan says. “He has 10 kids in his family. His older brother played football at Toledo, so there is a lot of competitiveness in the house. They have five boys (Khari is the youngest), so that presents some challenges. Maybe that’s what keeps him so humble is he doesn’t rule the roost at home.”
There was no question he ruled the roost on the gridiron this year, and at 6-foot and 200 pounds – and with the type of athleticism he has shown in both sports -- it is easy to see why major programs have come calling.
“I mean, just about every area you talk about he excels in,” Brogan said. “He has great talent. He runs the ball, has a lot of strength, makes great cuts, good speed, great vision, and he’s just a really good, solid tailback. He’s also a great teammate and a great student. In terms of being a quality kid, he’s everything you could ask for.”
Willis, a junior, also projects to multiple college positions.
“Michigan State is recruiting him as a safety, but a lot of MAC schools are recruiting him at tailback,” Brogan said. “State hasn’t closed the door on tailback, but I think one of the greatest attributes that has gotten him recruited is versatility. He can play safety or receiver, and if he grows he could be an outside linebacker type.”
Brogan says it is too early for Willis to determine if he will play both sports in college, but the opportunity to participate in both sports could make the difference in where he ends up. Michigan State is recruiting him in basketball, as well, but has not extended an offer yet.
While that is still to be determined, what is not up for debate is the type of person the school he ultimately chooses will get.
“He’s a 3.6 student and he’s a leader,” Brogan said. “He gave a speech at our open house for prospective 8th graders coming in and I thought it was the highlight of the entire program. He has his head on straight. He can have a great game and the reporters talk to him afterward, and you would have thought the coaches gave answers for him. His mom and dad raised him well.”
MSU offers Illinois junior
The Spartans became the ninth offer for Jacksonville (Ill.) offensive tackle Gabe Megginson on Thursday. A four-star prospect on Scout.com, the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Megginson has additional offers from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Akron and Utah.
A handful of football recruits attended Thursday night’s basketball game against Northwestern. The list includes Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone, his favorite target Grant Perry, and four linemen -- East Kentwood’s John Keenoy, St. Joseph’s Wesley French, Mendon’s Logan Slaughter and Haslett sophomore Blake Roe -- all standouts at last weekend’s Elite Big Man Camp in Wixom. One of the state’s top freshmen, East English Village Prep offensive lineman Emani Mason, also attended.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan State recruiting column appears every Friday at detroitnews.com. For more on MSU recruiting, visit michiganstate.scout.com.