Spartans Hankering for Hankins

In southeastern Michigan, where talented defensive lineman come the closest to growing on trees, the class of 2010 looks to be another fertile year. GSN caught up with one student-athlete prospect as he spent time in town learning more about the Spartan program.

Michigan State landed a pair of outstanding student athletes from Detroit Southeastern in last year's class: Fred Smith and Charles Burrell. Will they repeat the feat in 2010 with Jonathan Hankins and William Gholston?

The pair spent the weekend in East Lansing, in town for the Eastern Michigan game, catching up with Charles and Fred, getting to know the coaching staff and finding out what college life may be like at MSU.

"I liked the atmosphere," Hankins said in a phone interview Sunday. "The coaches, I'm getting real connected with them."

The Detroit area is perhaps the most fertile ground for defensive tackles in the state (Joseph Barksdale, Mike Martin, William Campbell, etc.) and Hankins appears to be another in a long line of talented big men from southeast Michigan.

"I just like being here," Hankins said of the Green & White. "It feels like home a little bit."

It's early in 2010 recruiting, but Hankins says conversations with members of the Spartan staff have hinted at a scholarship offer in the future. They got a an early peek this summer when Hankins came to a Spartan camp and they liked what they saw, especially physically.

"One of the trainers thought I was a senior," Hankins said, "but I was a junior" -- barely, however, just out of his sophomore year.

Bowling Green is another program Hankins says has been in early contact with him.

He's 6-foot-3, weighs 305-pounds and his stats in the weight room are impressive for such a young man: He bench presses 350 pounds and squats 550.

Hankins currently plays offense and defense, but the defensive trenches appear to be his most likely destination at the next level.

"I think I play defense better," he replied when asked to rate his own game, "but I think I like playing offense better."

Ultimately, he's amenable to wherever position coaches want him to man-up, and he says it's hard to pick a favorite, but it's the act of knowing when and where he's going to hit his man that attracts him to the O-line.

"I like to hit people," Hankins said. That's the type of hard-nosed sentiment coaches love to hear coming from a young football player.


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