Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the class of 2017 signees. Michigan State reporter Luke Srodulski has hit the road to visit this year’s incoming class of freshmen and give you an inside look beyond Hudl highlights and head shots. We’ll soon have an in-depth look at future Spartans LB Darien Tipps-Clemons. For now, here’s a preview.
PIQUA, Ohio — Darien Clemons? Sounds good. Darien Tipps-Clemons? No problem. Darien Tipps? He has never gone by that name, but sure.
Tipps-Clemons (that’s what his Michigan State jersey will say, so we’ll go with that) knows what matters to him and doesn’t dwell on the rest. The Piqua High linebacker and MSU signee doesn’t care by which last name to refer to him. He won’t debate you on politics, and he’ll shrug about your religious beliefs.
“I try to keep my own opinions to myself,” Tipps-Clemons says. “If I decide I like something, then I don’t tweet about it all the time. I don’t do anything so everybody else can see. What’s the point? What’s that gonna change? That stuff is gonna cause problems. That’s how you lose friends.”
And Tipps-Clemons appears to be friends with an astonishing proportion of people he meets. Though already graduated from high school, Tipps-Clemons isn’t an early enrollee in East Lansing. Instead, he still comes to Piqua High every morning to lift weights with his former teammate Elijah Hudson — a 2016 high school graduate who will soon join the Air Force. And as he walks the hall, students and faculty alike stop him to ask how things have been going since he finished school. Each person gets a genuine response.
Tipps-Clemons avoids confrontation at almost all costs. Almost. He moderates the Michigan State recruit group chat, and when players visit other schools or renege on commitments, they hear about it from him. Oh, and don’t mess with his kin, either.
“I’ll ride for my family,” Tipps-Clemons says. “It’s over from then on.”
That family constitutes an enormous group of people, many of whom live in Piqua. He seems to encounter multiple cousins on any stroll through the high school.
Tipps-Clemons operates behind an urge to help people and a fear of letting them down. He might be intense and fearsome on the field, but off of it, Tipps-Clemons says he tries his best to be kind to everyone. Why burn bridges when you can build them?
“I feel like you need people in your life,” he says. “You can’t have nobody in your life because then you get to a dark place. Sometimes you feel like you ain’t got people, and you just start thinking bad things. I feel like it’s always good to have somebody in your corner.”
For the complete Michigan State NextGen series, click this link.