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 past Hudl highlights and head shots. Though the series will officially debut in March, we talked with Lake Park (Roselle, Ill.) defensive lineman Jacub Panasiuk to give you a sneak peek at what you can expect.
ROSELLE, Ill. — Jacub Panasiuk’s path was influenced by his brother Mike, but not dictated. The distinction has to be made.
When he offered Jacub in January 2016, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio made sure Jacub knew that it came on his own merits, not because Mike would be signing with the Spartans the following month as a defensive lineman.
And in the same way, Jacub didn’t want to choose Michigan State solely because of his brother’s decision. Most people assumed he would. Some schools opted not to put much effort into recruiting the 6-foot-3 Lake Park defensive lineman because it seemed a lost cause.
Jacub took his time coming to a decision. He visited a plethora of schools with his coach, Chris Roll. They even checked out Michigan, which now makes Roll laugh. In what world could Jacub end up at his brother’s arch rival?
Ultimately, family won out when Jacub committed to Michigan State in June. His brother’s leaving made him realize that he wanted to stay close, even though the two had butted heads so much growing up.
“I wanted to know if I wanted to be with Mike for the next four years,” Jacub said, “and I wanted to see if I wanted to take that (path) or take my own, and I just thought taking the same path as him would be a good idea.”
It made sense. Jacub’s parents, who emigrated from Poland as teens, have built a close-knit family, and they want to keep it that way. Now that Jacub is headed to East Lansing, they’re even considering moving there. But that decision will have to wait until the youngest brother, sophomore Patrick, finishes high school.
And having Mike by his side in college will give Jacub some added motivation. Always the smallest of the three brothers, Jacub, a 3-star recruit, had to fight, scrap and work to try to get to the level of his 4-star older brother.
Jacub sticks to a strict workout and diet regimen. He travels 20 miles to Naperville, Ill., on a daily basis to work with a personal trainer.
And while he has worked to add weight, he’s made sure it’s good weight. Even on Fat Tuesday — and even though his mother works at a bakery — he did not eat pączki, Polish filled pastries that are made only this time of year.
He knows he’ll have a chance to play early in college with a lot of holes in Michigan State’s defensive line, and he wants to be ready. Having been committed for nine months, he feels he made the right choice. He would’ve chosen Michigan State, he thinks, even if Mike didn’t end up there.
“I honestly think I would’ve made the same decision,” Jacub said.
Across the room, Roll interjected.
“He might’ve made it quicker.”
For the complete Michigan State NextGen series, click this link.