It was a whirlwind week for Westerville (Ohio) South senior safety Dominique Long as he turned a solid camp performance with the Michigan State Spartans into an offer from Mark Dantonio and then a pledge to the Spartans.
Long knew the clock was ticking and talks about taking his place with the Spartans 2017 recruiting class.
“Michigan State was only taking one safety and I felt they had the whole package,” said Long. “It’s close to home and Coach Dantonio is a good coach. You can also tell he wants to build relationship with you and make it more than just about football as he wants to build men with good character and morals.”
Not only did Long find those traits in the Spartans head man, but also among his staff.
“All the coaches, Coach (Harlon) Barnett and Coach (Mike) Tressel are guys I wouldn’t mind being coached by,” he said. “The education is great as I want to major in mechanical engineering and there are a couple of engineers on the team, so it all just fell into place.”
Having received the offer a few days following camp, Long and his family knew the clock was ticking and used the days following to dissect the Spartans and where he stood with his recruitment.
“We looked for any disadvantages or negatives such as the coaches and distance from home,” Long explained. “We also looked at the education as well as their training program. We couldn’t find any negatives so we decided to make the decision before someone beat me to it.”
How did Long go about giving the Spartans the news?
“I sent a text message to Coach Tressel telling him I wanted to commit and wanted to speak with Coach Dantonio,” he said. “Then about an hour later, Coach Dantonio was freed up and I made the call.”
It was during this call that Long said he knew the decision he was making was the right one.
“Coach Dantonio took it slow with a steady tone and wanted to make sure I had a conversation with my parents and that I really wanted to be a Spartan,” he said. “It was a relief as for the way he reacted and it made me realize that he’s a good coach and that I want to play for him.
“He was calm, smooth and he wanted to make sure I wanted this for me. He said if I was happy with the decision he was happy with it and we could all go and develop our relationship from there.”
The Long family also called upon a helpful resource leading up to the commitment.
“We’re good friends with Chris Frey and his family,” explained Long. “So we’ve been talking with them a little bit.”
As for when Long will return to East Lansing, he knows he’ll look at things differently as a future Spartan.
“I’m not sure when we’ll get back up there,” he said. “But we’ll probably look around mid to late July when we’re both available.”
Some felt the fact that Long’s older brother Darryl being at Kentucky could slow down interest in the Spartans if the Wildcats offered.
Long explains why he’s looking to pave his own path once he leaves high school.
“My mom and dad both realize Darryl and I are both different people,” he said. “We both have different needs and they are completely fine with us going to different schools.”
One think Long is extremely happy about is putting the recruiting process behind him.
“It’s very relieving to have this done,” he said. “However, it also means I’m just at the beginning of my training. Now I have to get ready to play in the Big Ten, ready for the next level.”