Monday, March 19, 2012
Like father, like son
By Jared Shanker ESPN RecruitingNation
Like almost every other ESPNU Watch List prospect, Jon Reschke was spending his mid-February day sifting through letters from top programs across the country. As he glanced at the letterhead of each note -- Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford -- he quickly tossed one by one to the side.
"I'm getting mail from pretty much every school in the country -- all the SEC schools, Pac-12, Big Ten -- and I told my dad as I was looking through the mail I wouldn't go to this school over Michigan State, wouldn't go to this school," Reschke said. "He said, 'What are you waiting for? You need to commit.'"
LB Jon Reschke had offers from many of the nation's top programs, but no one could top following in his dad's footsteps at Michigan State.
That night the Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice inside linebacker committed to the Spartans, fulfilling a lifelong goal of following in his father's footsteps.
Paul Reschke was a walk-on two-way lineman for the Spartans in 1980s, and Jon said it was impossible not to grow up a Spartans fan in the Reschke household.
"When I was younger, I remember he would always tell me he wants me to play college football; he wants me to be a Spartan, of course," Reschke said. "It's always been a dream to be a Spartan actually. Luckily, God blessed me with the abilities to fulfill my dream."
Reschke pointed to a number of reasons as to why he committed to Michigan State. He loves the academics and was impressed with the dean of the business school when he visited. He will also have the opportunity to earn some early playing time and possibly step into a starting role as a sophomore.
However, reason No. 1 is pretty obvious.
"Definitely because my dad went there," Reschke said when asked his reasons for committing to the Spartans.
Paul, who said Jon is better than he was, made it a point to let his son make his own decision. He was not overbearing during the recruiting process.
"I stayed out of it," Paul said. "I let him get to the point where he was ready, and then we talked about the pros and cons of different places. He made the decision."
That does not mean Paul wasn't gently nudging Jon to Michigan State.
"Yeah, I put my two cents in," Paul said, smiling, "but I think anywhere you go, you got to want to be there or otherwise you're making the wrong decision -- and he wants to be there. I shared my experiences with him and tried to provide that guidance and framework, but ultimately it's his decision."
Despite Jon growing up a Michigan State fan, this was not a case of a prospect committing on the spot after getting an offer. Reschke picked up his offer after a camp in East Lansing during the summer.
Throughout Brother Rice's 2011 championship season, Reschke would keep in contact with Spartans assistant Brad Salem. Reschke made it to a handful of games and said with each visit he became more comfortable with the staff and closer to committing.
It wasn't until he sat sifting through those letters on Feb. 12 that Reschke knew Michigan State would be his future home. He spoke with his parents that night and called coach Mark Dantonio a few days later, asking to visit that Friday, Feb. 17.
Dantonio was the only coach on staff who would be on campus that day.
"He actually didn't know I was going to commit," Reschke said. "The rest of the staff was in Cancun. He went down the next day. They finished their vacation in a good way."
Similar to how he followed his father, Reschke is now trying to get other Class of 2013 prospects to follow his lead to East Lansing.
"I've been working on recruiting other players in the country. I've been adding them on Facebook and sending them messages," he said. "I look up guys and go after them, especially some D-linemen I want playing in front of me."
With a handful of junior day invites and offers on the horizon, Reschke could have let the decision play out a little longer. But like his father told him, there was no point in letting the process drag out any further.
"I'm sure we [could have started] looking at other places and spent time and see some things," Paul said, "but when you're so far out in front, then it's just the right place."