It’s taken a lot of work but Dearborn (Mich.) High offensive lineman Mustafa Khaleefah has become a “Wiz” as a future top offensive lineman.
Khaleefah has taken baby steps in the game of football but the hard work paid off with a scholarship offer from the Michigan State Spartans after attending two of the Spartans summer camps.
“The season coming into my junior year I worked out hard,” said Khaleefah. “I didn’t focus as much on my technique as I did in the weight room in getting stronger. But this year, I really put the two together and really worked on my technique getting better at everything technique wise. So I feel it gave me an advantage.”
While others might have doubted the potential of Khaleefah, the Spartans were there early and never left his side. How did it feel to finally get the offer and being able to give his pledge?
“It was unbelievable as I was told it was just a matter of time before it happened,” he said. “I’ve been to Michigan State a number of times and while other Power Five schools under looked me, Michigan State didn’t and they believed in me since the beginning.
“Just to go up there and workout for them and show them what I’m made of and get that offer, is really exciting and I’m really happy about that.”
The person there from the start has been Spartans offensive line coach Mark Staten.
“Me and Coach Staten, I’ve seen him a lot and he’s coached me at three camps,” explained Khaleefah. “So we work well together. I take coaching pretty well so he enjoys that and he’s just a great coach and everything he’s done; he’s been a success.”
While many questioned if Khaleefah would earn a scholarship offer, he never had a problem telling those who would listen he’d achieve his goal.
“I feel if you put the work in nothing is impossible,” he said. “My junior year I told a lot of people I was going to play in the Big Ten and nobody believed in me. So I feel if you work as hard as possible, anything is possible.”
How did making the call to the Spartans go down?
“Basically, I told Coach Staten that I was going to call him,” he said. “So I called and told him I wanted to be a Spartan. I was straight forward that I wanted to be a Spartan and he put Coach (Mark) Dantonio on the phone. I told him I wanted to be a Spartan and he was really happy about it. He told me that I really earned it as I didn’t have that mystic and came into the camps and worked hard at both camps and that I really earned the offer and the commitment.”
Why was it easy to make a quick decision and give the Spartans his pledge?
“I’ve been up there a bunch of times and every time I go up there I feel at home and feel comfortable,” he said. “I’m not shy from anybody when I’m there and that was really important to me.”
With the weight of recruiting off his shoulders, Khaleefah now has his sights on two areas.
“Right now, I really want to focus on my senior year as that is really important to me,” he stressed. “We have high expectations for this year and have a lot of players that have been working hard and are going to be seniors. So we have a lot of expectations. But I also want to focus on Michigan State as I love the program and want to take my parents up there.”