The 2020 recruiting class for the Michigan State Spartans is only in the beginning stages, but it is already shaping up to be an outstanding group. One of the major commitments from the class comes from Darius Snow, a four-star safety out of Hebron High School in Texas.
“Life is like a book, one that consists of many chapters.” Snow said in his commitment tweet. “(With) my next segment being college, in all honesty, my next chapter — it’s about a home away from home (and) Michigan State University is my home away from home. I’m still writing my book, but by taking advantage of this phenomenal opportunity, I’m off to a heck of a start.”
When I asked Snow why he chose to commit to Michigan State, he directed me to that quote. He decided on Michigan State because, even though he’s more than 1,100 miles away from his hometown, he still feels at home.
And while his journey is just beginning, he feels that MSU is the right school and football program for him to achieve his goals and continue to write his own story.
Despite growing up in Texas, Snow is no stranger to the Michigan State football program. His father is former Spartan point guard Eric Snow, who played for Jud Heathcote from 1991 through 1995. Eric would go on to have a long career in the NBA, and was named to the NBA All-Defensive second team in 2003.
That’s not all. His uncle, Percy Snow, was an All-American linebacker under head coach George Perles in the late 1980s. Percy is one of only four college football players to win both the Butkus Award and Lombardi Award, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013. He was a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1990 (13th overall).
It was not a big surprise that when asked who his biggest role model is, Darius was so quick to answer.
“They were the best at what they did,” The youngest Snow said of his dad and uncle. “That inspired me, and I want to/plan on doing the same (things they’ve accomplished). My pops is easily (my biggest role model). I’ve looked up to him as long as I can remember. To be honest, he’s everything I want to be as a man, personally.”
So the pedigree is obviously there for Darius Snow. And despite the obvious family ties to the university, he did not feel any pressure to commit to Michigan State. His family would have supported any decision that he made. As the 27th-ranked safety in the national 247 Composite, Darius had a lot of top quality options, too.
Perennial powerhouse programs such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Stanford, Florida State and many others all offered a scholarship to the standout defensive back. But MSU is the perfect fit for the four-star prospect.
The recruiting journey as a whole was genuinely an enjoyable experience for Snow, but he was able to read through the various scenarios and coach speak that NCAA coaches talked to him about.
“The (recruiting) process was fun, really,” he said. “I enjoyed it, and never really got tired of it like people said I would. I love how coaches stay in touch, that was a big factor for me if I’m being honest. I could see through some false words, though, not to specify, but that’s what I feel should be cut out of the recruiting world. If you have to lie to get someone then they just aren’t the right fit for you.”
The 6-foot-1-inch, 205 pound ballhawk, brings a unique skillset to the table at the safety position. He can play all over the defense and make an immediate impact. He also knows there is always room for improvement.
“My biggest strengths are my tackling ability, man on man coverage and how reliable my instincts are,” Snow said. “I consider myself as one of the ‘complete package’ defensive backs because I’m fully capable of doing and excelling at everything I need to be able to do as a safety.
“As for things to work on, you can always get better at everything, so that’s what I plan to do.”
The opportunity for immediate playing time could be available immediately for Darius. Starting free safety David Dowell is set to graduate following this season, which leaves his position up for grabs in 2020.
The young Snow has a confidence, not cockiness, about him that is hard to miss. In fact, he already has set lofty goals for himself the moment he steps on campus.
“My goal is to play, and not just get a few looks,” he said. “My goal is to start and dominate alike in everything I do. I know I’ll have some growing pains, but that’s what I plan on, and am confident that I’ll do.”
Throughout his high school career, Darius has played largely at strong safety, but he also has experience at free safety, cornerback and nickelback, so he is comfortable at any spot in the secondary. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and defensive backs coach Paul Haynes have told the young athlete that they see him mostly as a boundary safety, which typically means he’ll play the short side of the field.
Boundary (or “box”) safeties are typically great tacklers who can also play the run and roam the middle and the flats in coverage. These are traits that Snow already has in his arsenal. Although, Darius did inform me that the coaching staff would also be comfortable playing him as the field safety (or “Zeus”) if needed. His versatility is key for the Spartans.
Other things to know about Darius? His favorite football moment thus far in his young career was when Michigan State offered him a scholarship — which was ironically his first offer. He also is a very sociable person and get alongs with everybody. And of course, his competitive nature is what sets him apart.
You won’t want to miss Snow’s junior season highlight reel below — it’s pretty easy to tell that he has a great chance to be special in East Lansing.
This is the first entry in the Commitment Spotlight Series for the 2020 class. Be sure to look back at the 2018 and 2019 recruits I’ve interviewed in the past, who are now current Spartans.