Football recruiting today moves faster than ever, and recruits get on the college radar and receive media attention earlier as a result.
Note the excitement around prospects like Spencer Brown and Julian Barnett, the first two verbal commitments from Michigan State in their 2019 recruiting class, both of whom signed as part of the early signing period last Wednesday.
Under Mark Dantonio, the Spartans have had a lot of success at waiting on certain prospects, evaluating senior film and adding them to their class just before signing day.
Such was the case with Farmington Hills Harrison defensive lineman Maverick Hansen, who was committed to Central Michigan and was set to sign with the Chippewas until the Spartans called at 8:30 a.m. the first day of the early signing period.
While it was not quite that late, the Spartans followed a similar path with La’Darius Jefferson a year ago. He was offered after his senior season (which ended with a win over Hansen’s Harrison squad) and wound up playing as a true freshman. The most famous example prior to that was Kirk Cousins, but Darqueze Dennard, Laress Nelson and others also were senior-year additions.
Hansen had attended summer camp in East Lansing, and had kept in steady contact with the Spartans, particularly defensive line coach Ron Burton.
"On signing day, I got offered (by Michigan State) around 8:15-8:30 a.m when Coach Burton called me and said Coach Dantonio wanted to talk to me. That’s when it happened. I was blown away at the thought that I was going to be a Spartan."
Hansen called his mother, who came down to the school and signed his letter of intent. There was no real decision process other than Michigan State offered, and that is where Hansen wanted to be.
"It’s the right choice because it’s been my dream for years and I’ve just been wanting that since I experienced it for the first time," he said. "I’ve been in contact with the Michigan State coaches through the process and it was the only offer that mattered to me, really. I had Central and I was happy with that, but Michigan State is my dream."
"Maverick was a guy who was on our radar,” Dantonio said in his signing day press conference, “and just kept looking at Maverick as a player. Six-foot-5, 275 pounds, 6-4, 275 or so. Tough, athletic guy. Every time I continue to go back and watch him, I see a guy that’s a high-motor guy. It reminds me of Kevin Pickelman, it reminds me of Kenny Willekes. I just felt like he was one of those type of guys that was going to bring it. Another guy that was in camp — a lot of these guys were in camp for us — long jumps about 8-5 and ran very well at camp and vertical-ed well.”
Hansen had offers from Syracuse, Iowa State and Ball State as well. He also played offensive tackle and was recruited there some, but projects as a defensive lineman for the Spartans.
He made a name for himself last offseason with good performances at the Under Armour All-America Camp in Ohio, the United Stars Showcase in Chicago, and then on the Rising Stars bus tour.
“Maverick is just a real good kid, very responsible, and a leader,” Reggie Wynns of Rising Stars said. “He is that blue-collar athlete every team needs. He will be a leader four years at Michigan State. As a player, he can play both sides of the ball, the game is physicality and not giving up until the play is over with. He’s nasty, too. It’s hard to pass those guys up.”
That was what happened with Michigan State. The more they continued to evaluate him, the harder he was to pass up.
“As we watched more, the more we liked,” Dantonio said. “He was a late take. As I said before, late takes oftentimes work out because of the effort aspect and things of that nature.”
And with that, a green dream came true.
“He called me screaming,” Wynns said. “I was so happy for him. I had tears in my eyes. Him and his mom are great people. The kid bleeds green and white. He wanted to be a Spartan so bad and it goes to show hard work pays off if you stay on the course and follow the process.”
Hansen had 69 tackles as a senior and made The Detroit News' All-North team as an offensive lineman.
In-state junior offered by MSU
Edwardsburg offensive lineman Josh Priebe was offered by Michigan State when he visited for bowl practice earlier in the month.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Priebe has been on the Eddies’ varsity roster since his freshman year.
Toledo and Central Michigan have also offered. Notre Dame, Michigan, Purdue and others have also been in contact.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. 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.