Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles as Michigan State writer Luke Srodulski travels the country to meet this year’s incoming class of freshmen. This week we visited DE DeAri Todd of Lorain, Ohio.
LORAIN, Ohio — There’s an Ohio State helmet that sits in DeAri Todd’s basement to this day.
He doesn’t know why he has it. For the Michigan State defensive line signee, it feels a bit like sacrilege.
“It’s kind of odd,” Todd says. “I was once an Ohio State fan. Now I’m with Michigan State, so I can’t be an Ohio State fan. It is what it is.”
Once an Ohio State fan. It sounds like a brief, distant memory. But the Lorain (Ohio) Clearview senior, like most in the state, consumed the Buckeyes like he does burritos from the local Chipotle: Joey Bosa, Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Devin Smith and the lot.
A comment heard as a sophomore sticks out more and more in retrospect. He was celebrating his friend (and his football coach Mike Collier’s son) Jacob’s 16th birthday by plopping down in front of the TV to watch Ohio State take on Michigan State at Spartan Stadium.
“DeAri, you’re going to be on that field,” Jacob’s uncle said to Todd.
Naturally, Todd thought of playing for the Buckeyes. He chuckles at the thought of how much has changed, especially his reaction to the 49-37 Buckeyes win.
“At that time, we were happy,” Mike Collier laughs. “He’s been converted since.”
When Ohio State returned to East Lansing two years later, Todd found himself much closer to that field than he could’ve imagined. He sat in the stands with his family, taking in the sights of his first Michigan State campus visit.
Todd had been conditioned to dislike anyone from Michigan. That’s just how it was. But then two season-ticket holders nearby decided to depart early on that frigid afternoon, leaving behind their permanent cushioned seat backs. They asked if Todd and his family wanted to use them, which they did. Then one of them, an elderly woman, turned back before they left.
“I hope you commit here,” she said to Todd.
Five words made more of an impression than she could have known. Todd, who would receive his Michigan State offer two months later on Jan. 20 and flip his commitment from Boston College two days later, had his mind made up.
“From that point,” Todd says, “I knew I wanted to go here because of the people and the environment.”
The Ohio State helmet remains, but come fall, he’ll don the Spartans logo on his head.
For the complete Michigan State NextGen series, click this link.