Jalen Nailor thought he was going to keep recruiting fans in suspense until National Signing Day.
Then Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio called him on Saturday, and the 5-foot-11 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) wide receiver changed his tune. He saw no reason to hold off.
“It just felt right,” Nailor told Land of 10. “It’s where I wanted to go all along.”
So he committed right then, giving Michigan State its first pledge since 20 players signed during the early period. He became the third projected wide receiver in the Spartans’ class, joining early enrollees Ja’Vez Alexander and Julian Major.
— Jalen Rasheed Nailor (@SpeedyNailor) February 3, 2018
Though Nailor was excited, his commitment brought more relief than celebration. Seventeen months after landing his first scholarship offer, recruiting finally had come to an end. As he wrapped up the long process, his talks with the coaches were rather routine.
“I’m sure it was just like any other recruit committing,” he said. “Business as usual. They congratulated me, and I thanked them for the opportunity.”
Nailor, a 3-star senior in the 247Sports composite ratings, had looked like a sure commit since his official visit from Jan. 12-14. He described himself as “all in on MSU,” but a commitment took longer than expected.
His feelings about Michigan State were tested. He saw the athletic department shrouded in turmoil because of the Larry Nassar scandal, followed by an ESPN report claiming “a pattern of widespread denial, inaction and information suppression” in regards to allegations of sexual assault and violence against women.
Dantonio denied any suggestions of mishandling of such allegations, and Nailor expressed faith in his future coach. He called the turbulence “a non-factor” for him and his family.
Nailor also picked up a late offer from Nebraska, which had been in contact with him for a while. It left him intrigued, but after an evaluation of his options, Michigan State still topped the list.
“The coaches and the team remind me of my high school team,” Nailor said of Michigan State. “They play fast, physical and tough. I believe I have a legit chance to play for Big Ten and national championships there. Also, the fan base in East Lansing is second to none.”
Nailor joins a program needing depth in the slot behind Darrell Stewart following Hunter Rison’s decision to transfer. He likely will battle with Laress Nelson for the backup spot. Additionally, the Spartans told him he should have a chance to compete to be the punt and kick returner.
When Signing Day comes around on Wednesday, Nailor plans to sign first thing in the morning, he said. After that, he intends to keep on preparing to make an early impact at Michigan State.
“I’m just working hard to improve every aspect of my game to make sure I’m ready to help contribute in any way that I can,” he said.