Kalon Gervin took his first college visit in the 7th grade.
That day, he went to Michigan State and took a photo with Mark Dantonio. Five years later and Gervin is an All-American, a four-star and the No. 2 recruit in Michigan on the 247Sports Composite, and may be Dantonio’s next verbal commitment in the 2018 class.
Gervin (5-11, 180 pounds), now a standout at Detroit Cass Tech, may make that photo a prophetic one on Saturday as he prepares to announce his college commitment. He is down to Michigan State and Oregon. He visited the Ducks last weekend and reported that it was one of the best visits he has taken.
At various points in this recruitment, other schools have led. Gervin was once committed to Notre Dame; Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Nebraska and others were considered very real options. Through all that, Michigan State stayed as a consistent team in the race.
The first day coaches could get on the road and recruit last Monday, Dantonio was at Cass Tech.
“That’s family, man, they all treat me like family,” Gervin said. “They’ve been recruiting me really hard, I talk to coach Dantonio, coach Barnett, and coach Samuel. They’re recruiting me hard, so I’ve been looking at them a lot.”
With Gervin each step of the way has been his mother, Djuna Payton, who overcame an early fear of flying to now travel around the country to visit and assess schools with her son.
“As a mom, I look at where he really fits and what’s going to be good for Kalon,” she said. “He’s the same way because Kalon has to be content. It’s really, really important Kalon is happy, Kalon fits on the team, that Kalon fits as a whole with the academic school, and then football.”
Gervin was voted AP Division 1-2 Player of the Year as a senior after helping Cass Tech reach the state semifinals.
He will play in January’s Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando.
Official visits coming together
Michigan State has only a few spots remaining in the 2018 recruiting class and the weekend of Dec. 8-10 figures to be an important one in the stretch run.
Many, if not all, of the Spartan commits will be present that weekend, as will uncommitted prospects La’Darius Jefferson and Jordan Allen.
Jefferson, a quarterback at Muskegon, was named Mr. Football this week, and was offered by the Spartans as an athlete. Indiana, who offered as a quarterback, figures to be the Spartans’ primary competition for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior.
Allen, a recent offer, is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end from San Francisco City College. A California native, Utah, TCU, Arizona State and Colorado are among the teams battling MSU for him. He had 27 tackles (three for loss) and 4.5 sacks for the Rams this year.
New offer extended in St. Louis
Michigan State’s coaching staff was recruiting in St. Louis this week. While there, an offer was extended to Parkway North junior safety Jalani Williams (6-2, 175 pounds), a composite four-star with additional offers from Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon and more.
The Spartans also stopped at Cardinal Ritter College Prep, where they have already offered speedy wide receiver Jameson Williams, also a four-star prospect.
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 and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.