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Clarkston star Rocco Spindler says no to IMG Academy, sets commitment date

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Clarkston lineman Rocco Spindler has had a lot on his mind lately.

Spindler, ranked the No. 1 player in the state by The Detroit News in the 2021 class, has been weighing his college options, with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and LSU still in the running.

Rocco Spindler

Recently, he has had to think about his high school options, as well.

IMG Academy came calling last month to ask Spindler if he wanted to play his senior season at the boarding school in Bradenton, Fla., since the MHSAA is considering moving football to spring in Michigan due to COVID-19.

But Spindler told IMG he was staying at Clarkston, hoping football will remain in the fall. But even if it doesn’t, he will remain in Michigan through December before enrolling early in college in January.

More: Would moving high school football to spring lead to exodus of Michigan players?

“I had a big decision to make between Clarkston and IMG and I’m really loyal to Clarkston and the community that supports me,” Spindler told The Detroit News. “IMG wanted me to come, but I told them no.

“I sat down with the coaches (at Clarkston) and they felt pretty confident that we’d have a season and I know everybody is shooting for a fall season. If we don’t have a season and it gets moved to spring it’s unfortunate, but I’m staying here. If we don’t play I still had a great career, went to two state championship games, won one (in 2017), lost one (in 2018).”

Michigan quarterback commit J.J. McCarthy transferred to IMG Academy from Nazareth Academy, concerned that his state would not have football in the fall.

Spindler had planned to take his official college visits this fall before deciding but that seems unlikely at this point. So now he plans on announcing his decision Aug. 8.

Another high-profile Clarkston recruit, lineman Garrett Dellinger, committed to LSU two weeks ago.

“I’m still figuring things out between a couple of schools, but I’m starting to wrap things up,” Spindler said.

More: David Goricki's Top 50: 2021 high school football class

If football is played this fall, Spindler will start camp at Clarkston just days after announcing his college choice.

“I’ll have the decision made before my senior year and if we don’t have a season I’d just focus on my last semester and then just be excited to go to college early in January,” Spindler said.

Spindler is ranked the No. 3 guard in the nation by the 247Sports Composite. The site has a 50-50 Crystal Ball split between Michigan and Notre Dame for Spindler.

Spindler said Michigan is still high on his list.

“Yes, we talk daily,” he said. “They have a great coaching staff, great facilities and great camaraderie with the guys, and that’s what you really look for.”