January 8, 2008
JUCO LB looking forward to Big Ten visit
One of the prospects that recently popped up on the Michigan State recruiting radar is linebacker Mike Balogun of Lackawanna College in Scranton Pennsylvania. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound prospect just competed an outstanding season and has seen his stock rise significantly the past few weeks.
Balogun was a tackling machine from his middle-linebacker spot last fall. On the season he totaled 90 tackles, 12 TFL's 6 sacks and 2 interceptions. For his efforts he was named Northeast Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was also selected 2nd Team All-American Junior College All-American.
His strong performance has gotten the attention of numerous division one football programs and we asked him about the schools that have offered and are showing him significant interest.
"I have offers from Michigan State, Akron, Arkansas, Marshall, Buffalo and UNLV, he said. I have already taken an official visit to Akron and I will be going to Michigan State. I also may visit Marshall and Arkansas as well."
Balogun has been in-contact with the Michigan State staff numerous times and informed SpartanMag.com that he is well aware of the current situation as far as potential playing time and depth.
"I have talked with most of the coaches there," Balogun said. "I talked with Coach Narduzzi and Coach Tressel the most. They explained to me the situation and what they are looking for.
I think Michigan State could be a good opportunity for me. I am looking forward to meeting the coaches and players this weekend and seeing what East Lansing is like."
Balogun's path to college football is a bit different than many. He actually too some time off after high school and worked construction. He went to a combine that Lackawanna was having and the rest is history.
"Coming out of high school I had some college looking at me, but I was not qualified. I went to work for a while and then I went to a combine with a friend. That is where I met Coach (Mark) Duda and he wanted me to come there."
Coach Duda, who spent six years in the NFL, has had a long track record of success at Lackawanna. Over the years he has sent over 150 players onto division one schools while compiling an impressive 99-40 record.
Balogun will graduate this spring and will have three years to play 2 years, but is not looking at redshirting. He wants a chance to see the field early. One of the reasons the Spartans have piqued his interest is due to the fact that they need to replace senior linebacker Kaleb Thornhill, SirDarean Adams and Rob Tabatchnick. Balogun stated that the Spartans have said he could play either strong-side or middle linebacker depending on how things work out.
Spartanmag.com will be speaking with Balogun on Sunday to get his impression of Michigan State University. If things go well it is not out of the question that the Spartans will have added a hard hitting linebacker into the mix for the class of 2008.
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