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Commitment Spotlight: Four-star linebacker Chase Kline

Get to know the 14th commit in the 2018 class a little bit better

Courtesy of Chase Kline’s Twitter account via NCSA

The Michigan State Spartans picked up four commitments in the month of July — three for the 2018 class and one for the 2019 class — including a big commitment from Rivals four-star linebacker Chase Kline.

Kline stands at 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighs in at 225 pounds. He plays his high school ball at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio.

So, why did he choose to further his athletic and academic career at Michigan State University?

“I chose MSU because of the opportunity for early playing time and a great relationship with the coaches,” Kline said. “(I knew) Michigan State was the school for me after I met Coach (Mark) Dantonio in person.

Kline believes he can earn his way onto the field early during his Spartans career, which of course is a big draw for top recruits.

He may not be wrong, either. With hard work and dedication, Kline could find himself in a significant role within his first couple of years on campus. SAM linebacker Chris Frey is a senior this year, as is backup middle linebacker Shane Jones. Starting STAR linebacker, Andrew Dowell, will be entering his senior year once Kline arrives on campus.

So there will be opportunities for the young linebacker, but it won’t come easy, as players like Tyriq Thomas and Joe Bachie will likely still be on the roster for Kline’s first couple of seasons in East Lansing. Antjuan Simmons is only entering his freshmen season in 2017, and he will push for early playing time as well.

Kline offers versatility, though. He told me he projects at either an outside or inside linebacker once he gets to Michigan State. He also has the size and skill set to play defensive end if need be, but linebacker is where he wants to be.

But don’t discount the relationship he has built up with his soon-to-be head coach and the rest of the staff as a big reason why he wants to wear green and white on Saturdays.

“Our relationship is great,” Kline said while discussing his rapport with the MSU coaching staff. “I admire (Dantonio’s) ability to be calm in high pressure situations,” Kline added.

In addition to building relationships with Dantonio and the rest of the staff, Kline has started to get to know his new teammates and fellow 2018 classmates — most of which are also from Ohio.

“Lots of recruits have (reached out to me),” Kline said. “The other linebacker recruits have, and they’re great kids.”

The Spartans’ 2018 class currently consists of two other linebackers — Jeslord Boateng and Edward Warriner. Both players also hail from the Buckeye State, as do nine of the 15 recruits.

Kline was also the 10th player in the class who is expected to play defense. Shortly after Kline committed, the Spartans finally had another offensive player commit, when Pennsylvania’s Julian Major made his announcement a few days later.

While Kline is ranked a four-star recruit by Rivals — which also ranks Kline as the No. 23 outside linebacker in the country — 247Sports Composite ranks him as a three-star with a rating of 0.8678. That still puts him right at No. 22 nationally, though.

Scout also marks Kline as a three-star. The website lists him as the No. 7 inside linebacker in the Midwest, and the No. 5 inside linebacker in Ohio.

Kline is supremely confident. He doesn’t care much for the ratings system and he believes himself to be better than what a few media outlets may think.

“I should be a five-star,” Kline said. “Ratings are kind of bull crap, though. If you’re not striving to be perfect then you don't have it. I'm not content with anything. But when I put my helmet on and go into a game, ratings don't matter.”

Kline also knows where his strengths and weaknesses are as a football player.

“My strengths are my speed and aggression,” he said. “I’m looking to improve upon pass coverage (during my senior year).”

It is interesting that he mentions speed, as that has been one of the only knocks on his game. His Hudl account lists a verified 40-yard dash time of 4.86 seconds. However, his Scouting Ohio profile tells a different story, with a nice time listed at 4.7 seconds flat.

But Kline is a gamer and a competitor through and through. When you watch the tape, you can tell he is relentless when trying to take down the ball carrier and when he is on the field he won’t let anything stop him.

His impressive quick twitch and reaction times were on display at the Rivals Three-Stripe Camp in Ohio this past May. He competed against the country’s top recruits in pursuit and coverage drills and walked away from the experience as the camp’s Linebacker Most Valuable Player.

The News-Herald quoted Kline shortly after the event’s conclusion:

“It was pretty cool,” Kline said of the camp. “I felt really good about my performance. I had my legs under me and performed well. I went up against the best and didn’t lose.”

In addition to his ability to read and react, his tenacity and his headiness on the football field, Kline is also a highly intelligent student athlete — both on the football field and in the classroom.

Kline scored a 28 (out of 36) on the ACT college entrance exam, which is very impressive. He also carries a 3.5 career grade point average. His achievements in his studies and on the gridiron have garnered him several offers from prestigious Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn and Dartmouth.

Several other Power Five schools have also reached out to Kline with an offer, including Boston College, Iowa State, Purdue, Minnesota and Syracuse. According to his 247Sports profile, Kline has received at least 16 offers in total.

Kline also has some very bold predictions about the future of the MSU program. When asked what he thought about the current state of the program, and where it is headed coming off of a tumultuous year both on and off of the field, he was clear in his expectations.

“National championships,” Kline said. “Everyone has their bumps, but the kids that are coming in are amazing kids.”

This 2018 class, though not a top-25 according to the media, is getting back to Dantonio’s recruiting roots. The program is bringing in its kind of players — good football players who may not be considered the cream of the crop by the masses, but fit the Spartans mantra. I truly expect this class to surprise many and Kline will be a big part of that.

To learn more about some of the other members in the 2018 recruiting class, be sure to check out our Commitment Spotlight Series storystream.

Watch Kline’s junior highlights below (courtesy of Hudl).