It’s one beast of a jog from East Lansing, Mich., to Rome, man.
“Yeah, but it’s closer than anywhere else,” 3-star Clearwater (Fla.) Academy International defensive end and native Italian Habakkuk Baldonado told Land of 10 this week when asked about his Michigan State interest.
“I mean, Pittsburgh is closer and East Lansing is farther, but [my mom], she liked the place. And the people.”
The 6-foot-5 player from Rome said he’s done traveling to suitors, that he’s a few days away from announcing which school he’d like to terrorize quarterbacks for, and that the Spartans and coach Mark Dantonio are still very much in the picture.
“Right now, I’d say Michigan State and Pittsburgh [are the leaders],” said Baldonado, who recorded a whopping 30½ sacks for Clearwater Academy International last fall, his first on American shores. “I’ll make my decision as soon as I can. Like [before Friday], I would say.”
The giant defensive end, who took up football at age 14 in Italy, said the trip he’d planned on taking to Nebraska this weekend — the last weekend before National Signing Day — has been canceled.
“I changed my mind,” Baldonado said of the Cornhuskers. “Just lost a little bit of interest in them.”
Big time offer and amazing visit at @MSU_Football !!⚔️🏈 Thanks to everyone for the amazing experience @Coach_Staten coach @DantonioMark great people in a special place 🔥💯👑#SpartansWill #goGreen pic.twitter.com/Qcxl7POHIU
— Habakkuk Baldonado (@abba1999) January 22, 2018
The Spartans target visited Michigan State last weekend with his mother in tow and announced that he’d been extended an offer shortly thereafter. Baldonado described the trip as “pretty good … they have an amazing place with beautiful people. I really like the coaching staff and everyone there is pretty nice.
“I feel [if] it’s between the ACC and the Big Ten, that would be a great decision. And a hard one.”