January 11, 2011

All-American RB closes in on decision

With less than 4 weeks until National Signing Day, All-American running back Savon Huggins of St. Peter's Prep School in New Jersey is in the final stages of his recruitment. Michigan State will play host to the dynamic ball-carrier this weekend on an official visit. SpartanMag.com caught up with the 4-star recruit and got the latest.

Huggins, who checks in at a solid 6-foot-0, 190-pounds is the rated the #1 prospect in New Jersey for the class of 2011. Riavls.com ranks him the #7 running back in the nation and the #53 player overall. This past fall Huggins rushed for over 1900-yards on only 173 carries and scored 35 touchdowns for St Peters.

Huggins has already taken official recruiting visits to Auburn, North Carolina and Notre Dame. He will visit Michigan State this weekend and then follow that up with a trip to Rutgers on January 21st. Shortly afterwards, Huggins will sit down with his family and work on making his college choice.

Last week Huggins participated in the Under Armour All-American Bowl game held in Florida. The game featured many of the top prospects from across the nation. At the event Huggins represented himself very well. He showed those in attendance that he is arguably the most complete running back in the nation for 2011.

We asked Huggins about his experience at the Under Armour Bowl Game.

"It was great," he said. "I wanted to go out there and prove that I am one of the best in the nation. I looked at the game as a chance to do just that. Sometimes you don't get a lot of opportunities to prove yourself so I wanted to make sure I took advantage of it."

What stood out to you about the whole experience down there?

"The best part was hanging out with the players and getting to know people from around the country," Huggins stated.

After observing the game and the practices, Rivals.com analysts came to the conclusion that Huggins had the best vision of all the running backs in attendance.
"A tight battle at the position, as all three do a good job of seeing the holes and attacking them. Huggins is just more of an elusive back at the second level and does a good job avoiding tacklers."

Early on the process may believed that Huggins was a lock for the Fighting Irish due to him attending a Catholic School. In recent weeks some have begun to speculate that Huggins may decide to spurn some of the traditional power programs and stay close to home and play for Rutgers. Huggins has done little to give people an idea to where he might be leaning, he has stated many times, including when we spoke with him that he is still "open" at this point in time.
Michigan State recently pulled the scholarship of running back MiKail McCall and as of right now the only player they have coming in whop could see time at running back in the class of 2011 is Onaje Miller of Lansing, Sexton High school. Miller is listed as a 3-star Athlete recruit in the rivals.com database. The opening of a scholarship spot has made Huggins a player the staff is excited to be hosting on a visit. It is obvious Coach Dantonio is looking for a home-run hitter with that spot and will not settle for just anyone.

SpartanMag.com asked Huggins what it is about him that college coaches have said they like about him as a player.
"The big thing is my character, Huggins state. Not only on the field, but off the field as well. I take care of my grades and have a strong work ethic in the classroom and on the football field. They have also said how they like how I play the game. I can be a grinder, but I also have a lot of moves as well."

As far as what Huggins is looking forward to about Michigan State, he gave a simple and direct answer.

"The people"

Huggins indicate the relationship he has with the coaches, specifically his position coach as well as how he gets along with the other players and recruits coming in will be an important aspect in his decision making process. Much like recent commitment Shilique Calhoun, Huggins is looking for a place that makes him feel comfortable and has a family like environment.
Many have speculated that it may be difficult for a team like Michigan State to land a player like Huggins due to Edwin Baker only being a sophomore. Baker rushed for over 1200-yards last fall and emerged as one of the best backs in the Big Ten. However, Huggins understands that all the schools he is considering have elite level players at his position.
Auburn has freshmen sensation Michael Dyer, Notre Dame's top rusher was sophomore Cierre Wood and even Rutgers top rusher in 2010 was true freshman Jordan Thomas who was named All Big East Freshmen team. In order to win championships you need Elite players. Elite players often leave school early. Something Michigan State could be faced with next year if Baker has another year like he did in 2010.

As of right now Michigan State should certainly not be considered a favorite to land a player like Huggins. The Spartan staff has not had a chance to show Huggins what the program is all about and he has not had a chance to build rapport with all of the players and coaches. That is why getting Huggins on campus is a big coup.

It wasn't long ago that former Spartan Coach Nick Saban used a strong season to land the top running back in New Jersey, Tyrell Dortch. Mark Dantonio hopes that lighting can strike twice and the Spartans can continue to assemble championship level talent to battle teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin for Big Ten titles.

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