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 Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.) offensive lineman Kevin Jarvis to give you a sneak peek at what you can expect.
PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Kevin Jarvis looks big. Really big. Just maybe not 325-pounds big.
When he walks into a room, he towers over everyone who walks alongside him, just as he did all throughout high school on the football field. But he’s leaner than you might expect of someone his size.
“His head alone probably weighs 30-40 pounds,” Maine South head coach Dave Inserra said of his star O-lineman.
When we sat down Thursday in his team’s meeting room, Jarvis spoke more openly than I expected. He’s not someone who will manufacture words when they’re not needed.
“How’s it going?” … “Good.”
“What’s up?” … “Nothing.”
He’s done so many phone interviews and had so many cameras in his face after football games that he’s developed the most efficient way to get those talks done.
If you’re meeting Jarvis for the first time, you might think he’s a little cold.
“A lot of people who don’t know me don’t like me,” Jarvis said.
Catch him with his friends or his coaches, though, and you’ll see a different person. He throws jabs at his friends that might raise your eyebrows — until they’re dished right back, and you realize it’s all in fun.
Jarvis finds himself in a much better place than when he came to Maine South as a freshman. At that stage in his life, he didn’t have much direction. His parents had split up. His grades suffered.
When he would stay with his father, who would leave for work before 6 a.m., Jarvis didn’t have much reason to go to school at all. And no one was there to make sure he did.
But when those absences led to half-game suspensions, he started to turn things around. No one was going to take football from him. And he also started to regard his teammates and coaches as a family that he could not let down.
What was once a sub-2.0 GPA has risen to nearly 3.0. He landed the necessary ACT score to get into Michigan State., but academics are a bit of a chore right now — a chore he must get done to play football.
But if playing football is the reward, it’s well worth those chores.
As Jarvis so succinctly put it, “Football saved me.”
For the complete Michigan State NextGen series, click this link.