UpClose: Spartan Fan in Lion Country

Just how does a blue-blooded Pennsylvania kid turn into an avid Green and White fan? Read on to learn more about Delone Catholic's Jason Brady, a talented offensive line prospect with a great attitude who has a special place in his heart for the Spartans.

If Michigan State offers and lands Pennsylvania native Jason Brady, it could go a long way toward bolstering its recruiting reputation. After an impressive in-state start, building a broader regional presence is the next logical step for the Spartans, and the Keystone State is rich in talent.

One such talent is Brady, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound offensive line prospect who gets mail from MSU up to twice a week and is drawing attention from Penn State and Rutgers as well

Although Brady says he'd be honored to play for any of those three programs, Mark Dantonio and the Green and White could have the inside track on JoePa and Schiano: Brady's a Spartan fan.

"From September to November, I love to watch the Michigan State Spartans," he says. "I love Michigan State and it really means a lot to me that I'm getting recruited by them.

"I've always been a fan of the color green," he continued, attempting to explain his somewhat inexplicable infatuation with a Great Lake State team in the heart of coal and steel country. "My brother actually plays for a team in college called the York College Spartans and they had the same exact logo, same exact colors as Michigan State — that doesn't hurt.

"It's weird, because Michigan State isn't a team that is usually liked around the Pennsylvania area, but I've just liked them for some reason. I've always thought they've had a good, solid program," he says.

A big part of that perception comes from Brady's impression of MSU's head coach. "I think Mark Dantonio is a heck of a coach. He reminds me of Bill Belichick in a lot of ways. . . . I think, for the most part, he's a laid back guy, but when it comes to coaching, he does his job and I think he's one of the better coaches out there in the Big Ten right now."

Brady plans to make good on an invite and participate in a summer camp at Michigan State in a few months. He missed an opportunity to come to East Lansing last year for the thrilling final game of the season against Penn State, and it still eats him up.

"There was just something I could not get out of, and I wished so much I could have went to that game," he said.

Brady pays close attention to the skills he'll try to showcase throughout the summer and use on the gridiron next fall. He detailed his strengths as an offensive lineman: "I would say my aggressiveness, my drive blocking and my first two steps off the ball.

"I love run blocking," he continued, noting the importance of an initial shock to begin moving the line in the right direction. "That's how the Big Ten is — they'll run the ball right down your throat."

Brady says he maxes out bench pressing 325-pounds and can "rep 225-pounds between 13 and 15 times." He maxed out at 420-pounds squatting, but says reps are even more important for his lower body to build the proper leg strength required of a lineman. He routinely manages 10-15 reps at 275 pounds.

To improve his skills, Brady participates in a standard weight training schedule but also spends some time in the gym throwing punches.

"I don't box competitively much, but there's this boxing place where I go where I can hit the bag . . . and work my hand speed and foot speed. If you look at boxers in the ring, they have incredible hand and foot speed, and I think that's helped me."

Brady says foot-speed and footwork are perhaps the most vital of skills for an offensive lineman.

"It's probably the most important thing, in my opinion," he says. "If you can't get off the ball quick, then it doesn't matter how much you bench or squat — your talent's totally wasted if you can't get off the ball quick."

Brady's Delone Catholic High School squad (McSherrystown, Penn.) won a district championship last season but lost in the first round at the statewide level. He's optimistic for next fall and has taken a leadership position on the team.

When players convene for offseason lifting, Brady says, "I feel it's my duty to make sure that the younger classmen and even some of the guys my age aren't goofing off when they should be lifting. If they are . . . I'll tell them they can goof off later, but right now they have to lift because they're on the head coach's time, and he puts in a lot of time."

Brady's team-first attitude means collective goals trump personal goals. And although All-state is something he aspires to, Brady says, "it's just not about me, it's about the team right now."

Stay tuned to GSN to track the progress of Jason Brady and other top prospects throughout the summer and into next fall.

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