Collin Caflisch lived in Texas and Louisiana before arriving in Michigan, but once he did, one college football program earned his attention first.
So when Michigan State offered the Canton (Mich.) senior offensive lineman a preferred walk-on spot, it was an obvious choice – one he finalized Saturday.
“I pretty much knew this was the decision when I got the offer because I wanted to come to Michigan State ever since I moved up here because they were the first school to even acknowledge my existence,” Caflisch said. “It was just basically a game invite and a junior day, but they were the first team to recognize my name.
”It had a special spot in my heart there.”
The 6-foot-5 offensive lineman and long snapper took an official visit Saturday to East Lansing and that was the seal to the deal. A big thing he took from the visit was the way the coaches are – “open and transparent.”
”You can ask them anything,” he said. “You understand it’s a visit and they want to impress the guys, but I get the feeling they are like that all the time. You can talk to them about pretty much anything at any time of day.
”I could call them at 2 in the morning if I needed to for whatever reason and they would answer and have a conversation with me. I like that.”
Part of the visit Saturday was focused on how the Spartans have had success with walk-on players, including offensive lineman Connor Kruse, who started last year as a senior.
”Just because you’re a walk on without a scholarship doesn’t mean you won’t be able to contribute,” Caflisch said. “They told us about all these other guys that contributed so much to the team and they were walk-ons and some of them went to the college and walked on and they had no knowledge of them before.”
Another thing he liked about the Spartans was they stuck with their interest in him following an injury as a senior. Caflisch only played two games last season before having right ankle surgery, but his work at summer camps at both OL and LS had done enough.
”I probably would have had offers this season, but I had to get ankle surgery early on so it hurt my recruiting,” he said. “Michigan State still really liked me, though.”
He still landed his first offer from Grand Valley State, while Eastern Michigan also offered him as a preferred walk-on. The EMU offer focused more on just being a long snapper, however, and he liked the fact MSU wanted him for both. He did see that his ability to long snap set him apart.
“I really think that’s what set me far apart from all the other guys they were considering to give this offer to,” Caflisch said. “You can get a guy who can pass block and run people over, but you have this other guy who can do that and he can long snap. … They needed someone to fill that gap.”
And in the end, he just saw a good fit with the Spartans, as his style of play mirrors what he sees in East Lansing.
“I play like nose to the wall, trying to physically dominate the guy across form me and just beat him up,” he said. “It’s a good fit for Michigan State because they play tough and I would like to say I play tough as well.”