Most Spartans fans are still feeling the sting of a rough 2016 football season. We haven’t even had a chance to see what the 2017 recruiting class will finishing looking like or can do yet. But already, we’re looking ahead to 2018, and optimism is high.
Meet Javante Van Buren, a 6’1” and 210 pound high school junior linebacker out of Livonia, MI. Already with one offer from Central Michigan, and with at least four other schools interested, including Michigan State, Van Buren is a hot commodity.
“When I first got the (CMU) offer, I was pretty excited,” Van Buren told Spartan Nation of his offer from the Chippewas. “I couldn’t believe it. I was really hungry to get more. I was doing whatever I could do in my powers to get more.”
And more will be on the way soon for this athletic, high-character player. Aside from Michigan State, Van Buren has also heard from and/or visited Western Michigan, Toledo and Indiana.
“I love Toledo and Western Michigan,” said Van Buren. “Toledo is showing a lot of love. Western Michigan I get contacts from here and there, but not a lot.”
But it’s the two Big Ten schools, Michigan State and Indiana that are intriguing the junior linebacker.
“They’re both two great schools, dominant schools,” said Van Buren. “Good coaches at MSU, good coaches at Indiana. I like them both.”
According to Javante, he’s being recruited by Hoosiers’ linebackers coach William Inge. “I like how they’re showing interest in me, they’re not giving up on me,” Van Buren said of Indiana. “They keep in contact with me every week, he talks to me about my grades and stuff, and he’s just a special guy, the coach. I like the team.”
As for those academics he referenced, “My grades are good right now,” Javante said.
But, with one offer already on the table, and a handful of other schools interested, it’s Michigan State that seems to be standing out most to Javante Van Buren.
“I like everything about the Spartans,” Van Buren said. “Mark Dantonio, I like how he talks about his team. Also I like how it’s a team, it’s all about the team and how you have to earn your jersey there. I like everything about Michigan State. It’s just unbelievable.”
Javante said that Director of College Advancement and Performance for MSU football Curtis Blackwell, Wide Receivers Coach Terrence Samuel, and Quarterbacks Coach Brad Salem are recruiting him to MSU. Van Buren is so interested in being in East Lansing that he plans to camp at Michigan State – he wasn’t sure of the dates just yet, but was following up on those shortly after he spoke with Spartan Nation.
All of these schools see something truly special in Van Buren. Most notably is his drive and work ethic, which we’ll get to in a moment. But Javante, himself, knows of an element of his game that needs to improve.
“They want me to get better in space,” he said with very little hesitation. “I’m not as good as I should be out in space.”
It’s rare to see a junior in high school already so polished that he clearly knows elements of his game that need work. The bright spot is that Javante Van Buren possesses something that not all recruits have – a great motor and a great work ethic.
Work ethic simply can’t be taught – it’s either in you or it’s not, and it is clearly in Javante Van Buren. Once you know the drive is there, it’s easy to teach a player how to improve, and Javante wants to learn.
But this isn’t a secret. You can see it on film, you can see it in person, and you can hear it when you talk to him. This kid is ready for Division 1 Football, and there are already five schools that agree with that.
And yet, in the end, it’s Michigan State that Javante keeps coming back to.
“I mean this group is very fun and exciting, and it’s just a great feeling,” said Van Buren, who attended the Michigan game this season on an unofficial visit, and got a great feel for what game day is like in East Lansing. “They make you feel a part of Spartan Nation.”
Maybe, if the chips fall just right for the 2018 recruiting class, Javante Van Buren will actually be a member of Spartan Nation in the not-so-distant future. No doubt camping at MSU this summer is going to be crucial for the burgeoning young star. You can hear all of Spartan Nation publisher Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr.'s interview with Van Buren at the top of this page.