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In-state offensive lineman talks Michigan State offer
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and Paw Paw (Mich.) offensive lineman Karsen Barnhart initially thought they could walk through the Breslin Center concourse and out the regular doors.
That wasn’t happening after the Spartans’ men’s basketball game against Michigan on Saturday. As they walked up the stairs from the court, fans kept asking Dantonio to pose for for pictures. He obliged the requests then deemed it better to head out the back way.
So they headed back down to the court, through the tunnel and out to Dantonio’s car to head to his office. Typically that’s an indication that an offer is coming, but Barnhart had been told it would likely be after his first semester, which hasn’t yet ended. But right when they got into the car, it happened.
— Karsen Barnhart (@k_ballin__) January 13, 2018
“I got this weird feeling in my stomach,” Barnhart said of the offer. “It’s crazy to feel like I could play for such a high-level team like that that’s been successful for so many years in a row, and they’re going to keep doing that.”
Barnhart didn’t actively root for Michigan State growing up. His grandfather is from Alabama, which drew him to the Crimson Tide. But that didn’t stop him from appreciating that moment and the time spent talking with Dantonio in his office.
They talked about how Barnhart’s film and his mobility led to the offer. They discussed how Dantonio sees the 6-foot-4, 282-pound junior fitting in as a guard, tackle or tight end because of his athleticism.
“I got to talk with Coach Dantonio for a long time,” Barnhart said, “which was pretty cool for him to actually take the time out of his day to do that.”
Barnhart said he’s looking for the program that feels like a family, and offensive line coach Mark Staten is giving him that sense about Michigan State. They made an immediate connection over origins on the western side of Michigan and have grown much closer since.
“I feel like we’re pretty tight,” Barnhart said. “It feels like we already have that connection. I feel like I’ve known the guy for four years now compared to two, just that connection that me and him have already.”
Barnhart has visited Michigan State four times, two of which were for basketball games. He also attended a practice and had a chance to attend a film session that showed him Staten’s coaching style in action.
“He never was tearing you apart,” Barnhart said. “He would just tell you what you did wrong, and the players would say, ‘Yes, Coach.’ He would show them what they need to fix. He’s not in their face screaming, but at practice, everything was down pat. They were just flying through stuff, and the way he coached was one of the ways I could see myself playing for him.”
Though he has not yet garnered a 247Sports composite rating or ranking, that hasn’t stopped Barnhart from reeling in a bunch of offers. He listed Arizona State, Indiana, Iowa State and Kentucky as well.
As he develops, Barnhart may see a position change. No matter. On his list of priorities, that’s not at the top.
“It doesn’t really matter as long as I go to the place that wants me, I fit there and hopefully make it to the [NFL] afterwards,” he said.
Michigan State offers 4-star RB
With its 2018 class almost complete, Michigan State has wasted no time looking ahead and extending offers to 2019 recruits. The latest went to Cesare “Chez” Mellusi on Monday.
— Chez mellusi (@chez_mellusi) January 15, 2018
Mellusi, a 4-star junior from Naples, Fla., ranks 18th nationally among 2019 running backs. He stands 6-1 and weighs 190 pounds. Michigan State joins Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, USC and more on his offer list, which he wrote is at 23.
As a junior in 2017, Mellusi ran for 1,505 yards and 19 touchdowns on an average of 8.9 yards per carry, according to MaxPreps. He ran for at least 100 yards in 10 games, including a 219-yard performance against another Naples school, Palmetto Ridge.
Michigan State has landed four 2019 commitments so far, but only one from out of state. Three-star Morgan County (Ga.) athlete Jordan Huff pledged to the Spartans on Christmas.
You can see Mellusi’s film below.
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