MSU coaches make the difference for Gaines

When it came down to making his decision, the Frostproof (Fla.) defensive back was sold on the staff in East Lansing, which put the Spartans over the likes of Alabama, Auburn and Florida State.

Kaleel Gaines held offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn and Florida State, but when it came down to it, Michigan State was his choice.

The Spartans separated themselves above all the rest for the Frostproof (Fla.) defensive back for one big reason.

“The coaches, the coaches, the coaches,” he said. “They really contacted me a lot and we talked two or three times a month and I was on the phone with Coach (Harlon) Barnett just talking.

”That really showed interest in me and that is what stood out over everybody.”

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Gaines admittedly liked seeing the success the Spartans had last year, but he was fully sold on Michigan State after taking a trip to campus in June. From the facilities to the stadium to spending time with the coaches, he said he loved everything about Michigan State.

“It’s the best for me in my mind,” he said. “They have a great defensive scheme and I love all the coaches. I had a chance to meet the players and they said how good of a place it is and it could be the best decision I could make.”

He sees a great fit in the way Michigan State uses its players in the secondary as well, something that he found appealing for his skill set.

“The defensive scheme is built on bump and run and that’s what I’m good at playing cornerback,” he said. “They play that and it fits me well and it will help my game and prepare me for the next level I’m trying to get to.”

As he heads into his final season of high school football, Gaines said he is going to look to improve on those cover skills before he gets to East Lansing.

“I just want to improve on my covering skills and getting to the ball and forcing more turnovers than I did last year,” he said. “I just want to focus on my game so I can be ready for college ball.”

As for his position when he gets to East Lansing, it is not settled yet, but he knows which spot he prefers.

“I prefer cornerback, but they said I could play anywhere in the secondary,” Gaines said. “Coach Dantonio told me I could even play a little bit of receiver, too, but I want to play cornerback.”

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