Defensive tackle Cassius Peat was all set to go to East Lansing on Wednesday.
Until Michigan State told him to stay home.
“I don’t know what the case was,” Peat, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound junior college transfer from Pima Community College in Tuscon, Arizona, said in a phone interview with The Detroit News on Saturday. “They didn’t really give me an explanation. What I do know is I have the utmost respect for Coach (Mark) Dantonio and his program.
"It’s unfortunate they let me know four days before I was supposed to report. I know Coach D is under an immense amount of pressure with their current situation. It was just a little unfortunate."
Peat said there are no issues that should have prohibited him from playing at Michigan State, where he planned to begin summer classes this week.
“We have a great relationship,” Peat said. “Things just didn’t work out. What I do know is I’m going to have my associate's degree regardless. I have visits going with a couple of schools. I’ll be playing football this fall. I’m not worried.”
MSU didn't immediately return a request for a comment.
Peat, a native of Tempe, Arizona, was part of Michigan State’s 2015 recruiting class and spent that season on the roster as a redshirt. He participated in spring practice in 2016 but by the fall had decided to transfer to Pima Community College near his home.
In March of this year, when he decided to return to Michigan State, he told The News he appreciated the second opportunity from Dantonio.
“It means everything (they welcomed me back),” Peat said in March. “I didn’t get kicked out for problems or anything, so for them to take me back it means the world to me. This year when I play I’m gonna play for Coach Dantonio and the people who have been supportive of me since I’ve been gone.”
Peat’s father Todd Sr. played six seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis, and later Phoenix Cardinals from 1987-89, before spending 1990-93 with the Los Angeles Raiders. Peat’s brother Andrus, an offensive tackle, was drafted No. 13 overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 2015 NFL draft, while his other brother Todd Jr. is currently a defensive tackle playing at Texas A&M-Commerce after stops at Eastern Arizona and Nebraska.
So Cassius understands the situation, even though it may still sting a bit.
“I wish it would’ve been handled it differently, but it’s a business,” he said Saturday. “I have options from big-time schools, so I’m blessed. I believe everything happens for a reason.”
Al Willman is a freelance writer