At Michigan State’s Elite Camp over the weekend, Dane Middlebrook Jr., a 2020 defensive tackle out of Brownsburg high school in Indiana was one player who caught the attention of many with a dominant showing and there is serious mutual interest between Middlebrook and the Spartans.
Middlebrook recently spoke with Spartan Nation and agreed that he felt he had a strong showing at Michigan State’s camp and noted spent plenty of time working with Spartans’ defensive line coach Ron Burton and also had the opportunity to speak with head coach Mark Dantonio as well.
“I talked to coach Burton, the D-Line coach, and he showed me some pointers on how to stay low and how to just maintain what I have now,” he said. “The other coach I talked to was the head coach, Mark Dantonio and it was a pleasure talking to him too.”
Middlebrook, who considers the Spartans to be in his Top 3 schools, said that he came away impressed with Michigan State’s campus and facilities after taking a visit to East Lansing last year and also noted he has also developed a relationship with strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie.
“I loved it,” he said. “Last year, when I visited Michigan State, I did a tour of their school and I fell in love. The locker room, the weight room – the weight room coach, I love him, he just lit the fire in me and he told me to get better and to work on it and he told me ‘I’ll see you at that Michigan State camp’. The next year, I saw him again and he told me ‘I’m proud of you, just keep working and I’ll see you from here.’”
Along with Michigan State, Middlebrook has also heard from other Big Ten schools, such as Purdue and Illinois and has even heard from Alabama as well.
Because of location, Middlebrook said that he likes Illinois, but said he wouldn’t put the Illini on the same level as Michigan State.
“It’s close to where I live,” he said. “But it’s not as good as Michigan State though.”
With location potentially being a factor for the standout defensive lineman who is entering his sophomore year of high school, the Spartans may have an inside track on other schools pursuing him, including Alabama.
But when it comes to the Crimson Tide, Middlebrook said that he liked a lot of what Alabama has to offer, including the welcoming atmosphere in Tuscaloosa.
“It’s the same thing with Michigan State,” he said. “The facility, the weather is nice down there, the people are friendly down there. It’s just a welcoming feeling.”
While he already has a lot of interest after just one year of football at the high school level, the 6-foot-2, 315 pound Middlebrook is far from making any college decision, but noted that he prefers to play along the defensive line in college and more specifically, at defensive tackle.
“I prefer D-Line, but I’ll play wherever a coach wants me to play,” he said. “I like to play inside better, more than the outside so that I can have more contact with the offensive lineman. It really doesn’t matter to me, but I prefer inside better.”
Stay tuned to Spartan Nation for all of the latest news on this top prospect out of the 2020 class and the Spartans!