Playing close to home was appealing for Shilique Calhoun when he was looking at his college choice a few years ago.
”It was a tough decision to choose here over Rutgers but ultimately I knew this was the place I wanted to be, this was the place I needed to be and this was the place my family wanted me to be,” he said. Tuesday. “In the end, it became very clear.”
When he made that decision, the odds were he never would have the chance to face his home state school from New Jersey. As fate would have it. Rutgers joined the Big Ten and Calhoun will get a chance to face the Scarlet Knights on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
“It will be special to be able to play against people from my area,” Calhoun said. “Coming to Michigan State, I didn’t have the opportunity at first, but having an opportunity, it will be nice. It will be nice to go against a couple hometown guys I played against.”
When he first learned of Rutgers being in the same conference, he checked to see where the game would be played. He had hopes it would be back home in New Jersey, but having the game played in East Lansing won’t take anything away from it for him.
”Even playing them here is still going to be special,” Calhoun said. “It’s not going to be anything taken away from it. I think it will still be a special moment for me and James Kittredge also, another guy from New Jersey. Gerald (Owens), our running back. Those type of guys.
”It’s one of those games where it’s that state game, where you’re from. I know the Ohio guys have Ohio State and the Michigan guys have Michigan. It’s like finally we have our moment, too.”
The Spartans do have a game at Rutgers on the schedule next season on Oct. 10 in Piscataway. N.J. But it remains to be seen if Calhoun will be around for that meeting. He said Tuesday he has not made any decisions regarding forgoing his senior year and declaring for the NFL Draft.
“I’m looking forward to playing Rutgers here this year,” he said. “I don’t want to take anything away from the seniors. This is about the seniors. It’s not about me.
”It’s not about if I’m leaving or staying. It’s about making a statement for the Big Ten and sending the seniors out with another home victory.”