Tate Hallock, a three-star athlete out of Forest Hills Central (Grand Rapids, Michigan), committed to the Michigan State Spartans football program in late June of this year.
“I really chose MSU because the traditions and legacy that’s there,” Hallock said. “Ultimately, most of it was because my brother is there right now and my dad went there, so I wanted to carry on the legacy, but also the coaches and players there.”
As the younger Hallock points out, he is a legacy player for Michigan State. His older brother, Tanner, and his father, Ty, are both Spartans. His mother is also a Michigan State graduate. Tanner is a redshirt freshman this season, after making the team as a walk-on in 2017. Ty was a four-year letterwinner for MSU, and played for George Perles from 1989 through 1992 as a fullback and linebacker.
It is important to Tate to carry on the tradition. Michigan State has always felt like home because of the family connection he has with the school and the football program. It also helps that he will have a familiar face on campus once he arrives.
“I think it means everything because that’s always been my dream to go there,” Tate Hallock said when asked what what it means to him to be a legacy player. “Legacy has always been there, so that’s why I really chose (MSU). Having my brother be there already is good, too, because he can make sure I’m giving my all and I can do the same to him. It will be good. It makes the transition (to college life) easier, too.”
MSU offered Tate a scholarship following the Spartan Elite Camp in June, and it didn’t take long for him to commit after that.
The Forest Hills Central star had several additional offers, including Iowa State, Air Force, Cincinnati, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and many other programs. He ranks as the No. 84 athlete in the country and No. 28 player in Michigan, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Tate, who stands 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighs 190 pounds, was a do-it-all player for the Rangers — playing wide receiver, safety and kick/punt returner. He was recruited as an “athlete,” but will more than likely play safety for the Spartans, though he has the skill to play all over the field.
“Coach Dantonio mentioned I will probably be starting out at safety, but he said it just depends on how camps goes,” he said. “I could move to wide receiver because he knows I’m good at that as well, and with the loss of Felton (Davis) maybe that will help figure it out, but I don’t really care where I play. I mean I would love to return kicks and punts, but I think Cody (White) and (Connor) Heyward will continue to do that.”
While Hallock could very well start in the defensive backfield, it’s possible the coaching staff puts him all over the field later on in his career. He could get reps at wide receiver and play both sides of the ball in a similar role to current Spartans cornerback/wide receiver Justin Layne. And, as mentioned, we very well may be looking at a future returner. It will be interesting to see how the young player develops.
Hallock’s unique skill set is what makes him dangerous, though. He comes from a family of athletes, and his versatility is going to bode well for the Spartans. He is also a smart player who understands the various situations on the field.
“My biggest strength of my game is probably awareness, which ties into my speed,” Hallock said. “I know where to go and make the right cuts and explode off of the ball.”
Another reason why Hallock is such a well-versed athlete is because he plays multiple sports. He is a very good lacrosse and basketball player, in addition to football. Each sport has taught him various skills, that translate well to the gridiron and his overall athleticism.
“(The other sports) taught me a lot,” he said. “Lacrosse is definitely more of the cuts and movement that helps make me run fast and get away from defenders. Basketball is being aware on the court where everyone is, which helps me look over the field in football to make the right read on defense and make the right cut through the secondary on offense.”
Michigan State’s 2019 recruiting class currently consists of 18 verbal commits. Hallock was the ninth player to pledge to the Spartans. As of press time, the incoming freshmen ranks No. 27 nationally and sixth in the Big Ten.
Hallock says the group is very tight knit, and that seems to be a constant with all of the recruits I have spoken with in this class. Building a camaraderie prior to stepping onto the field is important.
“We are all very close already,” Hallock said. “I bonded with them very quickly. We have stayed over the night at MSU at my brother’s apartment together, and gotten close there. I really bonded with Tre (Mosley), Julian (Barnett), and (Devontae) Dobbs right away. Then when the season started I got really close with Jase (Bowen) and Marcel (Lewis). I’ve kind of known Adam (Berghorst) already, so we have become closer, but really I’m close with all of the guys.”
While the players and his family connection are big parts of why MSU was the perfect fit for Hallock, there is another key reason for choosing the Spartans. He is very close with the coaching staff, and in particular, assistant head coach/offensive line coach Mark Staten.
While Staten isn’t Hallock’s positional coach, he also works as recruiting coordinator for MSU, and was most responsible for recruiting the athlete. Staten, Dantonio and others on staff have remained close with Hallock following his commitment.
“I’m very close with Coach Staten because he’s the one who really believed in me and ultimately got me the offer,” Hallock said. “I’m close with Coach D as well, and we talk every time I go and visit, and every now and then. I’m really close to all of the coaches because I’ve been there a lot, and through Tanner. Another one is Coach (Chuck) Bullough. I’m close to him because he coached my dad, and I’m close with Coach (Paul) Haynes now because he’s my position coach; I really like him.”
It can be hard for true freshmen to find playing time, although Mark Dantonio has showing his willingness to play freshmen who earn the reps these past two seasons. Hallock knows that he may not find immediate playing time, but hopes to get on the field at some capacity.
And while his goals for his freshman year are well within reason, he expects big things in the future from himself and his team.
“My goals as a freshman are to make a special teams so I can play right away and make an impact. Then as a Spartan, win a Big Ten Championship and become an All-American.”
Hallock is a smart player with good speed, awareness and athleticism. The Spartans know what kind of player they’re getting from the Hallock family. His passion for the school and the sport is easy to see.
“I just love the game of football and can’t wait to continue the Hallock legacy at Michigan State.”