It is extremely rare to observe a freshman in high school and come to the conclusion that he will become one of the best players in the nation. On the contrary, it is safe to say that reigns true for 2020 Ramsey, New Jersey athlete Jalen Berger. Evidently the Michigan State Spartans picked up on that yesterday, as they offered a scholarship to the 6’, 185 pound running back and wide receiver threat. Michigan State marked his fifth offer, joining Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers, and Syracuse. Spartan Nation checked in with the elite freshman to talk about his interest in Michigan State.
Don Bosco Prep School is a notorious powerhouse year-in and year-out on the East Coast. It’s extremely uncommon to see a freshman light up the stat line each game, especially in such a highly regarded offense. However, Jalen displayed his Geat combination of size, power, and speed in his first season at Don Bosco. Coach Mark Synder stopped by yesterday to inform Jalen of his opportunity to become a Spartan.
“Coach Snyder stopped by today and after watching my highlights with my head Coach my coach called me down later and told me that Michigan State offered me. Later on, I found out that two of my teammates, Tyler Friday and Marcellus Earlington, also received offers.”
Jalen is a firm believer in being an exemplary teammate. Being able to receive offers with some of his teammates was a cool feat for Jalen. “I was excited for myself that I got the offer but when I found out about my big brothers getting offered, I was super pumped for them.”
Colleges do not often visit a recruit’s high school and walk away having offered three teammates on the same occurrence, but on Tuesday the Spartans accomplished that. Jalen spoke of the motive of Michigan State that led to offering three elite recruits at the same school in one day.
“Offering us shows that they want to be competitive. Michigan State came to the northeast and visited Don Bosco and ended up offering two of the top players in our conference. It meant a lot that they don't mind offering a freshmen, as most schools wait to until sophomore year going into junior year to extend offers.”
Jalen’s offer marked only the eighth 2020 recruit that has received an offer from Michigan State thus far. Being offered so early by the Spartans left a good impression on him.
“Being offered this early tells me they really want me. They know that I'm challenged on the field every practice and games playing in such a tough conference as a freshmen. I believe that's what they are looking for, players that are competitive that don't mind hard work that are also very coachable.”
Jalen was offered as an athlete. The two positions he plays at Don Bosco are tailback and wide receiver. Knowing Michigan State runs a powerful pro-style offense, Jalen believes he can contribute at either position, if he were to come to Michigan State. “I play running back mostly,” he said, “but I can be a wide receiver, so wherever they need me, I’d be able to develop.”
As running back is his primary position, it is hard for Jalen to ignore the success at running back the Spartans have displayed under Coach Mark Dantonio. “It stands out to me that they believe in the run game. I’m a big fan of Le’Veon Bell and I plan to look at some of his, and other past Sparta running back’s, films to get a better feel of the school,” he told Spartan Nation.
Currently, Scout does not rate any freshman, but you can be sure to expect Jalen Berger near the top of the rankings when the initial rankings are released. The Michigan State Spartans offer recruits that they believe will benefit their program on and off the field, and Jalen is no outlier. His work ethic is unbeatable, but what really stands out is his character and willingness to learn and grow. It is a fair bet that Berger will remain at the top of Michigan State’s 2020 recruiting targets.