Kevin Jarvis started as a sophomore on the varsity offensive line at Park Ridge (Ill.) Maine South High School. One of his first big tests was in his eighth game, when he faced Evanston’s then-junior defensive tackle Naquan Jones.
Little did they know then that they would one day be teammates. Jones signed with Michigan State in the 2016 class and Jarvis verbally committed to be part of the Spartans’ 2017 class on Thursday.
“It was pretty much everything,” Jarvis said in explaining why he picked MSU. “They have a big family atmosphere. I love the coaches and I love the campus.”
Jarvis gives the Spartans yet another player coming in from a state, Illinois, that is quickly becoming a fertile recruiting ground for them. A four-star prospect, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Jarvis held offers from Florida, Michigan, Arkansas, Auburn, Minnesota, Illinois and several others.
Ryan Healy coached against Jarvis as part of that Evanston staff that season. He is now the Director of Football Operations at EFT Sports Performance, where Jarvis does his offseason training. Healy was impressed with him then and is even more impressed with him now.
“The first time I saw Kevin was his sophomore year when we played them and Naquan was a junior and Kevin really held his own,” Healy said. “Naquan beat him a couple times, but held out in there and didn’t get freaked out by him, and I was impressed with him in the game and even more when I watched the film.
“I’m still a big fan of his. He continues to work even though he has all these offers. He asks us, ‘What do I need to do to get better? Can I see the film? We do film when we have our O-Line D-Line Academy. He’s always asking for feedback. He wants to know how to get better and he’s constantly working.”
That type of attitude and Jarvis’ physical style of play makes Healy believe he found the perfect fit in East Lansing.
“It’s Big Ten country, and I know that Wisconsin in the 1990s and 2000s got the nod of being O-Line U. But in the last five or six years, since Mark Dantonio got there and put his blueprint in, I think Michigan State’s offensive line has been the nation’s best, and obviously in the Big Ten. Kevin fits that mold of toughness, grind it out, never stop working, lunch pail kind of kid. His life hasn’t been easy. He’s had some roughness growing up, but he chose to take a path in hard work and he leaned on family, coaches and friends to go in the right direction.”
Jarvis is Michigan State’s third commitment in the 2017 class, joining tight end Jake Camper and wide receiver Cody White.
Iowa QB excited by Spartan offer
Despite holding offers from in-state programs Iowa and Iowa State already, West Des Moines Valley quarterback Rocky Lombardi says his recent Michigan State offer was “huge” and that the Spartans are a “great option for him.”
The son of former college coach Tony Lombardi (Wisconsin, Eastern Michigan), who is now his head coach at Valley, Lombardi is being recruited by some schools as an athlete, but the Spartans see the 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect as solely a quarterback.
“I know they are pro style, have a good quarterback history and a good business school, all things that are important to me," he said. "Also, they have a stable staff with lots of winning experience. This offer was huge for me. They are obviously a great program, so it means a lot for my goals and confidence.”
Lombardi passed for 2,258 yards and 21 touchdowns to only five interceptions as a junior.
He visited Michigan State for the Oregon game last fall and attended camp in the summer. He says he will visit again soon, but did not have a firm date for that return to campus.
Sophomore DE offered on visit
Fairfield (Ohio) defensive end Malik Vann came to Michigan State for practice on Thursday and the 6-foot-3, 245-pound sophomore left with an offer from the Spartans. He has additional offers from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Louisville.
Vann visited along with his teammate, fellow sophomore Jackson Carman, an offensive tackle expected to be among the nation’s top recruits in his class.
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.