Are Spartans a Contender for Odenigbo?

Can Michigan State get in the running for one of Ohio's top prospects. Ifeadi Odenigbo gives us the latest on his thoughts about the Spartans.

Much in Mark Dantonio fashion, Ifeadi Odenigbo is a man looking to earn his keep on and off the football field. This week found the Ohio defensive standout looking to finish strong in the classroom and get his senior season started on the football field. How have things been going?

"Finals are all done. They went pretty well and I feel I did pretty good. The only hard ones were chemistry and math, but it's all good."

While most of his classmates may be looking to head off to the local pools or amusement parks, Ifeadi was getting his senior football season started.

"Football started today (Thursday). I woke up at 4 o'clock this morning and was there from 4:45 to about 10 o'clock today."

One thing that has been consistent the past two weeks has been questions about what is going on at Ohio State. The Buckeyes are one of many schools that have offered the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Centerville (Ohio) native a scholarship. And with several former Elks having become Buckeyes, some feel OSU has a clear shot in getting Ifeadi in their recruiting class.

"It's been hectic the last week or two because of the whole Ohio State incident. There have been so many people who think I'm guaranteed to be going to Ohio State because I'm from the state of Ohio and my teammate and friend Michael Bennett is going there. So I've had so many reporters wanting to talk with me. Besides that everything else has been pretty good."

How has Ifeadi looked at the situation with the Buckeyes?

"It can be annoying at times because these are people that I've never met in my entire life and they just assume I'm going to Ohio State because we've had people like Kirk Herbstreit, A.J. Hawk, Mike Nugent and now Michael go there.

"What people don't understand is that I'm very open to every school and Ohio State doesn't really have an advantage just because I'm surrounded by Ohio State. I cannot let other people influence my decision because they want to see me wear their uniform. We all have our own reasons for doing things and I've got to pick a school that is right for me and for my own personal reasons."

While the phone has continued to ring, Ifeadi has been looking away from football and trying to stay focus on his other sport.

"I've not really been focusing too much about football because of track season. During track season I kept telling myself that I'm a track runner who happens to be good at football. We were state runner-up and I made state for the 4x200 and our team got third."

How much of a difference have the past couple of years been for Ifeadi?

"It's really been a huge culture shock and I'm grateful to God. This shows you that hard work and perseverance does pay off and you need to be patient. To go from one year (sophomore) not playing any varsity to a year (junior) that was my first year starting and now I'm coming back with momentum and trying to help my team have a great year is amazing."

While Ifeadi has seen his name talked about with several programs, where do the Spartans stand in the recruiting race?

"I'm going up on the last week of June for a visit.

"Michigan State is a big contender as I'm a big fan of Coach Dantonio and Coach Barnett. Coach Barnett is the guy who recruits my area and I've spoke with him on the phone a couple of times. I have found him to be very sincere and genuine when he speaks.

"A lot of times when you talk with other coaches you hear a lot of things like you're an amazing player and you'll really help our team a lot. But Coach Barnett is not like that and even though Coach Barnett would not be my position coach, I would love to play for him. I'm looking forward to meeting my position coach when I go up there."

With high school teammate and good friend Benny McGowan already committed to the Spartans, how much has Ifeadi been hearing about the Spartans from his good friend?

"Benny has told me the usual stuff like we need to get you to Michigan State and that we could be roommates. But he doesn't really get on me about it."

While some have penciled Ifeadi in to be a Buckeye because of his friendship with Bennett, the bond between him and McGowan is also strong.

"I'm pretty close to them both as during track season every time we go out of state or on an overnight trip we all room together. I could not pick one over the other as being my best friend. It would be a coin toss."

As for when he's looking to make his college choice known, Ifeadi hopes to know soon.

"I feel I'll find out a lot once I take these college visits. So once I get these visits out of the way I will have seen the schools I'm very interested in and will have had a chance to see the people, meet the admission people and get a feel for the overall atmosphere of the school. Those I have high interest in will remain and the others will not be in my running any more.

"If I can't make my decision by the start of my football season I'll make it after my season is over."

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