Brent keeping MSU on radar despite reports

One of the Midwest's top prep recruits spends his time sacking quarterbacks, helping tutor youths in the track and field and being and all round good guy.

Josh Brent is a well-spoken young man out of Bloomington, Illinois, with dreams of playing multiple sports at a Division I university.

The Central Catholic football and track standout finds Michigan State currently outside his top five in terms of schools that he is considering, but may still take an official visit to East Lansing in the next couple of months. While confident in his own abilities, he concedes he is not that familiar with Michigan State's defensive line situation.

"I truthfully do not know too much about their line, so I wouldn't be able to say whether or not I would be, or wouldn't be (able to make an impact)," Brent said. He did say that he talked to the offensive coordinator (Dave Baldwin), and suggested that his opinion of Brent's ability was not sugarcoated in the least.

"He said that he would really like for me to come there, because he definitely doesn't want to have to think of a game plan to block me," Brent said amusedly. "I thought that was a compliment."

The prospect likes his chances in terms of trying to earn his keep, but admits he may not be able to start right away. "I think I could go in there and compete for playing time," Brent said.

"I don't know about necessarily starting as a true freshman, but I think I can go in there and compete, and hopefully after being there, during my sophomore year, try to compete for a starting job."

While attending Michigan State's football camp, he was able to spend time with defensive line coach Derrick Jackson. "I worked out with Coach Jackson the whole time I was there," Brent stated.

"I learned a few things, and was able to try and perfect my technique," Brent said. "He taught me some things that I didn't know." He stated that he has been in contact with Jackson frequently.

Brent was impressed with the size of the university, but admitted he sees the football program as playing second fiddle to Tom Izzo's basketball factory.

"The campus is quite large," Brent said. "I would have to say it is almost a basketball school first, football comes second." He suggested though that it would not have an impact on his decision. While playing football for only a couple of years, GSN asked Brent if he had been a football fan anyway growing up in Big Ten country.

"Actually no, I grew up watching basketball. My family is more basketball-oriented," Brent admitted. "Basketball and track and field is what we usually watched. I didn't really even start watching football until the seventh grade."

He mentioned that he didn't even watch college football, but rather followed the NFL initially, and that the San Francisco 49ers were his favorite team. "I never would have thought of myself as a football player, I always saw myself as a thrower in track and field, or a basketball player."

In spite of his late interest in the game itself, the top prospect is now convinced that the sport will in all likelihood provide his meal ticket. "I am to a certain extent, I am pretty convinced that football will more than likely be my meal ticket."

He added that while he enjoys football, eliminating track and field from his college experience is not going to be an option. "I don't want to stop doing track and field. I see myself excelling in college once I have a coach that can teach me the things that I don't know now." Brent said that he hasn't had the opportunity to meet Walt Drenth, Michigan State's first-year track coach.

Brent's goals are to do well in both sports, and will go to a school that will allow him the freedom to pursue each one. "There are a lot of things that I don't know, just from not having a true shot put and discus coach working with me everyday," Brent said.

"I think that once I get to college and have that, a guy that knows what he's talking about, knows the technique, and knows the things I need to do to help perfect my throws, then I'll be able to excel."

The top five schools he is zeroing in on count four from the Big Ten, but Michigan State does not join them in that list. In order, he listed Illinois as his favorite, followed by Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona State as #5. While his interest in MSU seems to be fading, he admitted that he wouldn't shut the door on them completely.

"I still stay in touch with the other schools, as you never know what will happen," Brent said. "You might find out something about a school that you may dislike once you go on your official visit."

While recording a quarterback sack on the football field is very gratifying, it doesn't begin to match the feeling Brent gets when he's helping out with kids.

"I help my uncle coach his summer track and field team," Brent told GSN. He said the children are from ages six to eighteen, and while they are not underprivileged, they are kids that maybe didn't make their school team, but want to get better.

"I've thrown shot put and discus for a while, and I know a lot of the basic things to help kids excel," Brent said. "It's nice to see. You take on a protégé', you see them progress from the beginning of the summer to the end of the summer, and you hope for them that the following year they will make the team," Brent added. "You feel good about yourself knowing that you had helped someone."

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