lainwell offensive tackle Jack Conklin had been planning to play next season at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, until Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio offered him a full-ride scholarship Friday.
“I was sitting there thinking, ’I’m sitting in coach Dantonio’s office,’” Conklin said. “I was just so surprised when he offered me a full scholarship.”
Conklin will be the 19th member of the recruiting class that signed in February. He will join the team this fall.
Conklin had been recruited by numerous Division I programs, including Michigan and Michigan State, but settled on Fork Union after no scholarship offers came. U-M wanted him as a preferred walk-on. He is unrated by rivals.com.
After he committed to the prep school, interest from MSU intensified.
“We got a lot of phone calls, texts and emails from (MSU offensive line coach Ted Staten),” said Darren Conklin, Jack’s father and Plainwell’s head football coach. “Coach Staten said that Coach D wanted to meet with us, so we planned the trip on Friday to East Lansing.”
Jack accepted the scholarship offer and felt a sense of relief. The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder got a host of congratulations after word spread quickly in his small town.
And after Jack committed to MSU, Darren had to change his wardrobe. He is a proud Michigan graduate.
In fact, he was recruited by Bo Schembechler at Michigan and went to Ann Arbor as a preferred walk-on after his graduation from Plainwell. A shoulder injury ended his career before he could play.
“The opportunity for your child, to see his happiness is worth it,” Darren said. “For the next few years, I will be bleeding green and white.”