The Big 33 Football Classic all-star game is a place for high school athletes to shine, in many circumstances, right before they head out to their colleges of choice to play NCAA football.
This weekend, incoming freshman QB Damion Terry had a chance to do just that by leading his home state of Pennsylvania to victory over Maryland. On Monday, he spoke to reporters about the game and his excitement about becoming a Michigan State Spartan this fall.
“It was fun playing with a bunch of all-stars, knowing everyone you were playing against was good competition,” Terry told MLive.com. “The speed of the game was faster, and overall, I had a great experience.”
Terry was 4-of-8 passing for 83 yards that included a 57-yard touchdown pass and rushed for 42 yards, putting his dual talents on full display. The quarterback led a 9-play drive for the game-winning touchdown, as well, though a few of his passes were overthrown – certainly not something too unusual after having only a week to practice for the game with his fellow all-stars.
His biggest complaint after the game? Rug burns left from the stadium’s short artificial turf.
“Yeah, I got turf burns all over,” said Terry, who also directed a nine-play touchdown drive. “Now, I’m just anxious to get up to Michigan State and see all my teammates and fellow class members.
“We all came together on our official visit, and you’d think we’d known each other for years, we just clicked right away.”
One of those fellow incoming athletes he gelled with was linebacker Jon Reschke, whom Terry said he would be rooming with come this fall in East Lansing.
The young QB says he’ll spend the rest of his summer studying internet clips of the Spartans’ playbook and getting a feel for head coach Mark Dantonio’s system. Though the 6-foot-4, 220-pound player led his high school team of Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pa. to an overall 15-0 record and the Class AAA state championship last season, Terry says that while he feels ready to compete, he still has some work to do.
“I have a feel for what we’re doing, and I think I’ve grasped some of the basic concepts,” Terry said. “I’ve talked to coach (Brad) Salem, and we’ve been close even when he was the running backs coach. We communicated really well.
“I’ve just made sure I’ve kept throwing. I want all the throws I can get before I get into camp, because I don’t want to be rusty.”
Terry will make East Lansing his new home on June 27th and couldn’t be happier to call himself a Spartan, despite the lack of national media attention over the past few years.
“I’ve honestly never really understood the image thing,” Terry said. “We’ve won more Big Ten games than anyone the past five years.
“But there’s bigger things to focus on, and we don’t do a lot of talking, we’re low key, and we plan to do our talking on the field.”
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has already praised Terry for his ability to be a natural leader for the team; something that can never be underestimated according to the Spartans’ leader on the sidelines.
“Damion is a tremendously poised leader who has a knack for making big-time plays seem normal,” Dantonio said. “He brings a sense of calm to his team and is able to make quick decisions.”
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.