So far, we have featured seven incoming Michigan State football recruits on The Only Colors. Let’s keep this train rolling with our eighth installment. Next up in the 2018 Commitment Spotlight series is Edward Warinner.
Warinner is a three-star inside linebacker at Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio — just about a 30-minute drive to Ohio State University’s campus in Columbus.
But Michigan State was the school for Warinner all along. He made his verbal commitment to the Spartans on April 12, and was the fifth player to commit to a class that now stands at 15.
“I chose MSU because I felt it was the school where I could have the football career and education that I would want to have,” Warinner said. “Its a great school and a great football program. After I got offered I had some other visits planned, but I was sold on MSU and committed.”
Though Warinner was not offered by Ohio State, the Buckeyes did show some interest, as he took some unofficial visits and competed at camps there. But this is not the first, and probably not the last, time that head coach Mark Dantonio was able to go into Ohio State’s backyard (or into the state of Ohio in general) and pluck recruits from the state to the south.
In fact, the 2018 class is made up of mainly Ohio prospects, as nine of the 15 commits hail from the Buckeye State. If that stands, that would be Dantonio’s largest number of kids from Ohio in a single class (he had eight in both 2012 and 2016). And with National Signing Day still several months away, I would expect a few more.
Perhaps a big reason why Ohio recruits are flooding to East Lansing is because they feel under-recruited and overlooked by Ohio State if they don’t receive an offer, as another prospect suggested. But Warinner believes it is for a different reason.
“(Michigan State) is a program that has a lot of the values that many Ohio football players have,” he said. “It’s a place where the players who work the hardest succeed and isn’t built upon the superstar recruits.”
That is a very important point Warinner made. Under Dantonio, the Michigan State program has not often sought after huge, nationally-recognized recruits.
Since Dantonio took over, Michigan State’s recruiting class has never ranked in the top-15, and has only been in the top-three of the Big Ten twice. Its best class was 2016, which ranked 17th nationally and third in the conference (per 247Sports).
The Michigan State program has made its living with two and three-star recruits that brought the Spartans up from the basement of the Big Ten, to the very top of it in recent seasons.
Michigan State has gotten back to its roots with the 2018 recuiting class. Enter Warinner, who scores an 0.8288 on the 247 Sports Composite, which puts him at the No. 59 inside linebacker, and the No. 52 player in the state of Ohio.
Rivals, however, lists him as the 43rd overall player in Ohio. Scout is much higher on Warinner, as he ranks as the 18th inside linebacker in the country there, and is at No. 2 in Ohio and No. 3 in the Midwest, respectively.
But as I have mentioned in the past, recruiting is not all it is cracked up to be sometimes. As fans, we just see the glitz and the glamour of it. While Warinner is certainly grateful, and can’t wait to come to Michigan State, he didn’t particularly enjoy recruitment as a whole.
“I didn’t love recruiting by any means,” Warinner said. “I think its an over-glorified process that is centered around hype on the internet. I wanted to commit as soon as I felt comfortable doing it. After I had knee surgery, I knew my recruiting, which was just about to take off, would slow down and it did until teams saw I was healthy.”
Warinner had many other offers on the table from several respectable programs. West Virginia, Army, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Rutgers, Colorado State, Toledo, Central Michigan and more all extended a scholarship offer to him.
As noted, Warinner plays on the inside. He will have his eyes on the MIKE position once he arrives at Michigan State. While he is not opposed to moving to the outside if need be, he is more comfortable in the middle. He has the natural ability and strong leadership qualities that would make him a great MIKE linebacker.
“I definitely am an inside guy,” Warinner said. “I like MIKE the best, but if playing the WILL got me on the field earlier, I would play that for sure.
“I like being in the middle and being the guy that makes the calls and is the leader. I’m graduating early and all I want my freshman year is to establish myself as a hard-working guy that will be a great player in the program.”
Warinner’s senior season has just begun and he is very confident in his game. He knows how to read his keys, get to the football and make plays. Of course, there are areas of his game he needs to work on before he arrives in Ingham County as well.
“My strengths are reading linemen and getting to the running back,” Warinner said. “I shed blocks really well. I zone drop really well, too. I need to work on my hands (placement) on block shedding and man coverage.”
The reason why he does a lot of things on the field well is because he has had great coaching throughout his life. Warinner has developed great relationships with his high school and youth coaches over the years. He is close with his Olentangy Liberty coaching staff and feels very prepared for the next level because of it.
He does not expect that kind of relationship to be any different with Dantonio, who he respects and admires very much.
“Coach Dantonio is a great man and a true leader,” Warinner said. “He handles his business the right way and is the kind of man that you want to play and learn from.”
The college game is a whole new ballgame, though. The pace is much faster, the competition is much tougher and training is non-stop. Couple that with the fact that he’ll have a whole class workload to keep up with, and it is a lot to take in.
“College football is certainly a full-time job,” Warinner said. “Getting used to the full days of lifting, meetings, practice and class will be a challenge, but I understand what it’s going to be like and am looking forward to it. College should be the best years of your life and I hope to make it that way.”
Warinner may be another player who is flying under the recruiting radar a bit, but fits the Michigan State mold and has a great attitude. Look for him to come to EL in 2018 and work his tail off.
In addition to his coaches, Warinner draws inspiration from his family. He has a great relationship with his father, and strives to be the best man he can be — because that is what he was taught.
“My role model is my dad. Everything he does and the way he carries himself is what I inspire to be.”
There is also family tradition for Warinner at the school. His mother is a Michigan State graduate. He has other family members on his mom’s side who have graduated from MSU as well.
Check out a few of Warinner’s junior highlights here. Watch how quick he is to the ball and how hard he hits.
Be sure to follow along with our Commitment Spotlight series to learn more about specific recruits in the 2018 class. The chemistry has already begun to develop with this group, and Warinner confirmed that the 2018 class is very tight-knit.