Fifteen minutes before Demetric Vance Jr. announced that he will attend Michigan State in 2016, Detroit Cass Tech football teammate Mike Weber put three hats on a table.
One was MSU, one was Michigan and the last was Ohio State, Weber’s school of choice.
So it appears, in a couple of years, Vance might have to run down his former teammate.
“I’m going to play safety at MSU,” Vance said today, in front of his teammates, friends and parents, Demetric Sr. and Cynthia.
He said MSU felt like home on his two trips to East Lansing. The first was in February, for the MSU vs. U-M basketball game. The second was in April, when he knew being a Spartan was in his heart.
The 6-foot-3, 196-pounder played safety for the first time last year, but it was long enough for MSU coach Mark Dantonio and his staff to realize that Vance had the goods.
“It was his decision,” Cynthia said. “We left it up to him, but education was important to us.”
Said young Vance: “It was pretty hard because there were a bunch of schools I was thinking about going to. I just felt like Michigan State was home, so I did what I had to do.
“The environment, the coaches; just everything about Michigan State brings joy to my heart. It’s just home. I think I can contribute early. I’m just looking to get up there, get a national championship and be big. I grew up big on Michigan State.”
After he visited with his parents and they met Dantonio, Vance was ready to make his decision.
“They liked that I’m a come-down hitter,” Vance said. “I come from the safety position and hit running backs, wide receivers, and they know I just started playing safety last year. I have a couple of things to work on. I have to show up.”
Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher, a Michigan grad, said that Vance remaining in the state pleased him.
“I’m pleased to be his coach,” Wilcher said. “I think the most important thing about here at Cass Tech is our job is to make sure that we have kids here that can go to school anyplace in the country. We want to make sure that we always look at our state first, because kids should always want to participate here at home and close to family.
“Trying to supply the schools in-state is the most important thing. We want the kids to go to Michigan, we want the kids to go to Michigan State, Central Michigan, Eastern; whatever school they can get to. Grand Valley, Saginaw, because we need to make sure we praise our own selves first.
“If home isn’t where the heart is, then go wherever the heart is. That’s why we travel across the country to make sure they know they have options.”
Vance vowed to bring good players in the area to MSU, including Detroit King rivals Donnie Corley and Levert Hill.
This was the third commitment in two days for MSU — and the first in-state pledge for the class of 2016. Scout.com ranks Vance a four-star prospect and the No. 17 safety in the nation. Rivals.com gives him three stars and ranks him the No. 13 player in the state and the No. 54 athlete in the nation. He’s the No. 26 safety and No. 11 player in the state, according to 247sports.com.
MSU’s class of 2016 now has 10 verbal commitments, eight of them since April 22, when quarterback Messiah deWeaver of Huber Heights, Ohio, started a surge.
Defensive back Austin Andrews of Columbus, Ohio, (St. Francis DeSales High) and athlete Jonah Morris of Akron, Ohio, (Archbishop Hoban High) both visited East Lansing on Tuesday and gave pledges to MSU coach Mark Dantonio.
Andrews and Morris were among several prospects who visited MSU, according to 247sports.com, including Detroit King receiver Donnie Corley and defensive back LaVert Hill. Hill is a Penn State verbal commitment.
The 6-foot, 178-pound Andrews picked MSU over finalists Wisconsin, Iowa, Louisville, Missouri, Boston College and Pittsburgh. Andrews is ranked the No. 52 cornerback in the nation by rivals.com and No. 60 by 247sports.com. Scout.com ranks him the No. 31 safety in the nation, No. 1 in Ohio.
Morris projects as a safety or linebacker. He also reportedly had a Pittsburgh offer, along with Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois and others. Morris is ranked the No. 26 athlete in the nation and No. 1 in the Midwest by scout.com, and 247sports.com ranks him the No. 37 athlete in the country.
The rest of MSU’s class consists of running back Abdul Adams (Washington, D.C.), offensive lineman Matt Allen (Hinsdale, Ill.), linebacker Joe Bachie (Berea, Ohio), receiver Cameron Chambers (Sicklerville, N.J.), tight end Noah Davis (Cincinnati) and receiver Justin Layne (Cleveland).
Verbal commitments are nonbinding until national letters of intent are signed in February.
Here’s a highlight video of Vance in action:
MSU recruit Messiah deWeaver will hold in a live chat at 3:30 p.m. Friday at freep.com/sports. Submit early questions here. Then join beat writer Joe Rexrode for an MSU chat at 10 a.m. Thursday. Submit early questions for that one here.