Tate Hallock’s earliest memory of being at Michigan State was in 2009. He attended a Spartan game with his father, former MSU great Ty Hallock and older brother Tanner. He got to visit the locker room, watch some game highlights and meet linebacker Greg Jones.
Fast-forward to today and Hallock will be in that locker room next season as a member of the Spartan team. A rising senior wide receiver and safety at Forest Hills Central, Hallock is verbally committed to Michigan State.
He earned an offer at the Spartan Elite Camp in June. Going into that day, Hallock knew he still had his senior season to play, but was also aware this would be the last time he would be able to work out in front of Mark Dantonio and his staff.
“Obviously, you always feel pressure going to camp and being a little nervous,” he said. “But this was the last time for me to show them who I am and what they were missing in the earlier stages, so I went there to get business done, get an offer and know where my home is, and that’s East Lansing.”
With his father playing at Michigan State and then in the NFL, Hallock has been around football all of his life. He began playing flag football in first grade and said football is in his blood.
While his older brother Tanner was making a name for himself as a quarterback at Forest Hills Central, Hallock was also on his way up, but his coaches wanted to make sure they cultivated his talent the right way.
“He’s been up on varsity for two years,” Rangers head coach Tim Rogers said. “He actually played down at the lower level his junior varsity year and that was done on purpose to make sure he built his confidence and to make sure he got the ball a bunch. I think sometimes you rush a kid up to the varsity too soon and he doesn’t get enough touches and doesn’t develop properly, so it is my preference to keep them down if we can.”
Late in his sophomore year, Hallock moved up to the varsity for the playoffs. He did not just come up for those games – he played. That led into last season, when he had 779 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on offense, and 81 tackles, three forced fumbles, and three touchdowns on defense.
“He built a lot of confidence at the JV level and then he came up and played with the varsity in the playoffs for us the previous year when we went 9-3 and he got a lot of time and had a lot of success as a kid moving up from the lower levels in the playoffs, and I think from there, he just built on that,” Rogers said.
The Spartans have talked to him about a variety of positions, including his familiar positions of wide receiver and safety. His older brother Tanner is now a linebacker at Michigan State, and the growth potential may be there for Tate to continue adding weight and play other positions, as well.
“He’s 6-foot-4 and runs a 4.56, that’s a really good combination,” Rogers said. “He has height, speed, and he’s now 190 pounds, as well. He continues to work on his skills, continues to work on the mental part of the game, which he can get better on both of those. His job each week is to be a better Tate Hallock and not worry about the opponent, and he’s done a great job of that.”
At a recent 7-on-7, Hallock was the verbal target of the opponent. There were chants of “overrated” and skepticism about his ability to play at Michigan State. At one point, Hallock caught a touchdown over a defender, but rather than return the trash talk, he gave his teammate five and went back to the huddle.
“He has a lot of work to do because everybody’s eyes are on him,” Rogers said. “That’s not only on gameday, but in the weight room, at practice, he has to be a shining example of what Ranger football is about. So he has no time off. He has to do the right thing all the time because he has a lot of eyes on him. He has to be a fearless leader and someone we’re proud of.”
“I just take it in stride,” Hallock said. “I try to get better because I have a target on my back, but I just take it and try not to run my own mouth, just shut up and do me.”
Hallock is one of 15 commitments in Michigan State’s 2019 class.
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.