Four star wide receiver Nick Marsh is “coming back home” and re-committing to attend Michigan State in Fall 2024. Marsh is a standout for the River Rouge Panthers rated the 120th recruit in the nation, number 21 wide receiver and the third best overall recruit in the state of Michigan by On3.
Marsh’s commitment makes him the 12th player in the 2024 class for Coach Mel Tucker and crew. And it has to be said, his announcement video was definitely the top of the year (so far).
The commitment to Michigan State comes almost a year after his initial commitment in July 2022. Marsh had reopened his recruitment process in March 2023 to see “what else was out there.” The six foot three inch receiver told media that he reopened his formal recruitment because “it wouldn’t be right to travel (to other schools) still being committed.”
The decision was motivated largely by family and a desire to play close to home. The other finalists under consideration were Penn State, Oregon, Pittsburgh and Kansas. Though many sites also listed University of Michigan when reports indicated the desire was to stay within the state.
Marsh’s re-commitment is a rarity in big time sports. Usually, when a program loses a verbal commitment it means the prospect ends up somewhere else. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more common to see big time commitments change their minds - sometimes even multiple times - over the course of their High School careers.
In this era of commitments being made years in advance of actually attending collegiate programs it makes sense that teenagers would want to change their mind. Complicating matters is the importance of NIL and an industry wide lack of respect for commitments. Many programs continue to actively recruit committed students, knowing a verbal commitment is easily changed - unlike a national letter of intent signed during a student’s final year in high school. Though even NILs are getting easier to change.
Marsh credited the way he was treated by the Michigan State fan base for helping his decision to “come back home.” This is an important lesson for Spartan fans - and all collegiate sports fans.
Student athletes are young. Despite being incredibly advanced athletes, with skills that outshine peers years older than them, they are still teenagers. The attention - sometimes incredibly aggressive - given to high profile athletes is a lot for them to handle.
If you’ve ever met a high school senior debating their college choice, you know it can be painstaking, stressful and include wild swings.
Now imagine that choice being carried out under a national spotlight with NIL deals possibly worth millions hanging in the balance. The pressure high profile recruits are under is immense. If they are lucky, they can embrace the chaos and focus on the positives. That is not the case for everyone.
When a young person verbally commits, fan bases should enjoy it. They should welcome the student with open arms and cheer them forward. The fan bases should also take verbal commitments with a grain of salt, and be patient for the day the recruit actually shows up on campus.
If a committed recruit changes their mind, fan bases should also find the grace to give the young person the time and space to make the right decision for them. If simply being gracious is not enough, keep in mind programs do better if the player actually WANTS to be there - not feeling like they were doing a prison term (Cough: Keon Coleman). Because a committed student forced to follow through on a pledge sounds an awful lot like a soon to be freshman that transfers.
And if a fan base is gracious, they can score the rare RE-commitment, just like Michigan State has with Nick Marsh. And the the high flying wide receiver can breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone knows where I’m going so it’s no more ‘Nick, where are you going?’”, Marsh said at his announcement. “It’s no more worrying about college until I get there. I can just focus on my football season now and just go in and dominate.”
Marsh will focus on his senior year of Football this Fall and plans to enroll early at Michigan State in Spring 24.