Michigan State commitment allows La’Darius Jefferson room to breathe after whirlwind season, recruitment

DEARBORN, Mich. — La’Darius Jefferson knew he was going to commit to Michigan State. He just didn’t know how.

The Muskegon (Mich.) star quarterback, a 3-star senior in the 247Sports composite ratings, previously announced he would share his choice on Christmas Day as a gift to his family. During the week going into his Dec. 8-10 official visit to Michigan State, he realized that choice would be to join the Spartans.

And once he got on campus, Jefferson realized he wouldn’t be waiting two more weeks to publicize his silent commitment. Spending time with Xavier Henderson, Trenton Gillison, Kalon Gervin and more of the Michigan State verbal pledges made that clear.

“Just being around the commits, it’s like a brotherhood,” Jefferson said on Sunday at the Dearborn Inn, where he was named offensive captain on the Detroit Free Press high school football Dream Team. “Why not? Why wait? Early Christmas present. That’s what I told Coach [Mark Dantonio] when I was ready to commit.

“That’s how I want to stand out. I don’t want to make this about me. I don’t want to commit on Christmas and make it all about me or commit on Signing Day [on Dec. 20] and make it all about me. I’ll commit early, get it out of the way and just enjoy the time.”

His commitment Saturday afternoon give the Spartans 20 members in their 2018 class, moving them to No. 21 nationally in the recruiting class rankings. Dantonio expects every one to sign during the early period. Jefferson knew he wanted to part of it.

“He called me and said, ‘Coach, I want to do it,’ ” Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield recalled. ” ‘I want to commit. I just want to let you know that I don’t care where they play me or what I have to do. I just want to be a Spartan, and this is where I want to get my education.’ ”

And it was done. Jefferson became Michigan State’s sixth in-state commit. Though ranked as the No. 15 player in Michigan in the 247Sports composite rankings, he has been regarded as the undisputed best player in the state, having thrown for 1,205 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 2,095 yards and 33 more scores.

The Associated Press and MLive both named him their Michigan Player of the Year. He won Hungry Howie’s Mr. Football honors. And on Monday, he achieved one of his final prep football goals when named Gatorade State Football Player of the Year.

But most importantly to him, he led Muskegon to an undefeated season and a Division 3 state title.

“This was the main goal, actually,” he said. “We wanted to win a state championship, be crowned champions. This is something we always dreamed about since eighth grade. This was at the top of the list.”

Now it’s all come to an end. His high school football days. His recruitment. His bevy of statewide honors. Jefferson had planned to enroll early had he stuck with Central Florida, to which he was committed previously. He plans to sign early with Michigan State and has canceled his additional planned visits, but he said he will enroll in the summer rather than January.

And it might be the best thing for him. The fall has been a whirlwind. He finally has a moment to sit back and reflect on his myriad accomplishments.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “I can just focus on my family now. Coaches used to always call my phone, blow my phone up. I was always on my phone, always jawing with coaches on rides home. I can sit back and relax, enjoy my family, enjoy my high school career. The recruiting process was fun, but I’m glad it’s over.”

Once he gets to Michigan State, he’ll find out where the Spartans want him to play. He has spoken mainly to co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner about playing running back, where they could get the ball in his hands where he’s most effective. Jefferson said they could use him a little like Penn State star Saquon Barkley.

Jefferson’s plans for the classroom are clearer. He plans to study mechanical engineering to pave the way for a career in aerospace. With goals like that, he said, his family is proud regardless of when he announced or which school he chose.

“They’re just all in it for me,” Jefferson said of his mother, aunt and grandmother, who accompanied him on his visit. “They don’t care. They just want to support me and see me succeed in life. They were just happy for me no matter what. It was exciting. I couldn’t get them to stop smiling.”

The post Michigan State commitment allows La’Darius Jefferson room to breathe after whirlwind season, recruitment appeared first on Land of 10.

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