Trieu: Determination earns Dimitri Douglas spot at MSU
Michigan State had Saline High School offensive lineman Dimitri Douglas at two camps in the span of four days. The first was last Wednesday’s lineman camp, then he returned Saturday for the Spartan Elite camp and earned a scholarship offer from the Spartans, which he accepted Monday.
Earned is the key word there. Not only did Douglas have to camp twice, he took on the best at each camp and he won more than his fair share of the reps. It was similar to Mustafa Khaleefah from Dearborn last year, as he also camped twice in East Lansing and left the second one with an offer.
That is just the type of determination Douglas has shown at Saline the last two years as he has made himself into a Big Ten-level recruit.
“We always thought he was capable of being a scholarship player and a D1 scholarship player,” Hornets head coach Joe Palka said, “mainly because of his feet. He was always athletic, could bend, run, always had height – the difference is physicality. He is so much more physical and gotten so much stronger over the past year and a half. He was maybe a little more frustrated at the start of his sophomore year because he wasn’t ready. But what he did instead of pout about it is work to getter, and that’s why I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished.”
Douglas measured just under 6-foot-5, 288 pounds at April’s Nike Opening Regional in Chicago. At that size, he ran 5.29 in the 40-yard dash, a top-10 time at his position at that event. His 28.9-inch vertical jump was third among the offensive lineman and his overall rating for the event’s testing portion was top 10 at the position as well.
Couple that athleticism with what he showed at the Spartan camps in the 1-on-1 drills, and he became an obvious offer.
“I think they are getting a kid that is a great athlete,” Palka said. “He has always had great feet, but he is really trending up in terms of physicality. He continues to get more physical and is starting to play with an edge. Above all, he is an unbelievable worker. He doesn’t miss anything. He does everything extra, all of our extra conditioning and extra lifting, he’s there, and he’s gone and challenged himself against top competition at every camp he can get to. His work ethic is second to none. He is the total package.”
Accepting Michigan State’s scholarship offer was not a long, difficult decision for Douglas. He had long wanted a Spartan offer, but the staff needed to do more evaluating. As he has done throughout his high school career, Douglas put his head down, worked and waited for his chance to impress.
“He has wanted to go to Michigan State for a long time, but he didn’t have that offer right away,” Palka said. “He knew he would go to camp in mid-June and that would be a make-or-break type of thing. He was happy with some other offers he had, but I knew if he went to MSU and got an offer, it would be a done deal. They were very thorough in their process, they filmed and watched everything he did at two camps and it made everybody feel good about the way it ended.”
The Spartans now have nine commitments in the 2018 class. Douglas is one of three who come from inside the state, along with Dearborn Divine Child quarterback Theo Day and Belleville cornerback Davion Williams, who committed over the weekend.
Additional camp offers
West Bloomfield wide receiver A.J. Abbott camped at Michigan State on Saturday and earned an offer from the Spartans. They now join his top three along with Wisconsin and Iowa with a decision expected in the near future. Abbott (6-2, 180 pounds) entered the month of June with no Big Ten scholarship offers but now holds five (Minnesota and Purdue, in addition to his top three).
The Spartans also offered Chardon (Ohio) linebacker Chase Kline (6-3, 230 pounds) and Bolingbrook (Ill.) defensive tackle Dashaun Mallory (6-1, 265 pounds) at camp. Both were spring camp stars and were among the top performers at their respective Opening Regionals. Kline picked up a Minnesota offer shortly after his Spartan offer. Iowa State and Colorado State are among Mallory’s other offers.
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.