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April 27, 2012

Burbridge update, Duffy recap

Top MSU 2012 recruit Aaron Burbridge continues to work toward qualifying academically -- and no matter what rumor you hear between now and then, that won't be determined until he's done with summer school. Burbridge is doing very well so far this semester, Farmington Hills Harrison coach John Herrington said Thursday.

    I caught up with Herrington at the Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award ceremony. He said Burbridge has a solid ACT score but still can take it two more times, and improvement there could alleviate some of the GPA increase needed. 

    Bottom line: Burbridge has work to do, there's hope he can make it but it all depends on what he does in the next few months. Herrington has no doubt Burbridge, a talented receiver and the No. 1 recruit in the state, can help MSU right away if he qualifies.

    An aside on Herrington: Did you know he has taught history in high school for the past 50 years and continues to do so, along with coaching one of the top programs in the state? Think about that.

    Thursday also provided the chance to catch up with former East Lansing High coach Jeff Smith and another Detroit-area legend, Detroit Catholic Central's Tom Mach. Mach is hoping to see one of his former players, U-M defensive tackle, go in the draft tonight. He's excited for receiver John Jakubik, who originally signed with Kalamazoo out of DCC but transferred to MSU and is in the mix at receiver this spring. And he thinks another of his former players, MSU No. 1 fullback Niko Palazeti, has the intangibles to be a leader at MSU some day.

    The ceremony was strong as always. Geoff Kimmerly presented Lansing Catholic receiver Matt Macksood with the Duffy high school scholarship, underwritten by Kelly Dean. I talked to Macksood a bit and he's pumped about walking on at MSU. He said he's been timed as low as 4.5 in the 40, by the way, but he did not have MAC offers. Saginaw Valley State offered him scholarship and Grand Valley asked him to walk on. He's not big (probably 5-10) and that no doubt worked against him. But ask anyone who has watched high school football in this area in the past two seasons -- he can play. Nearly 3,000 receiving yards as a junior and senior. It'll be interesting to watch him at MSU and whether he can eventually carve out a role on the field. He'll probably be a scout team asset at least.

    Mark Dantonio and assistants including Ted Gill, Harlon Barnett and Ken Mannie were present -- and there was a U-M football table including offensive coordinator Al Borges -- to see Dree Daugherty remember her mother, Francie Daugherty, with a speech about her life as Duffy's wife. Mendon's John Schwartz (10 for 10 in state title games) got the high school award and, as usual, the high school winner brought a large chunk of the crowd. He had players there going back to the 1970s and introduced all of them. Then 2012 college winner Vince Dooley capped the night with some stories of his friendship with Duffy and of his career at Georgia.

    My favorite story: The night before Georgia and Notre Dame played in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, with the national title on the line for the No. 1 Bulldogs, there was a large banquet for both teams. Dooley's wife, Barbara, had a chance to meet Notre Dame's then-president, Father Theodore Hesburgh. Barbara made a crack about praying for victory and Hesburgh said: "My God doesn't care about the result of a football game."

    "Good," Barbara said, "because my God does."

    Georgia won 17-10.

    One more thing from Thursday: George Perles was there to introduce Dooley and he repeated what he told me Tuesday -- that he's serious about putting together a plan to have statues of Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty built on the MSU campus. He has mentioned it to the Board of Trustees already. Perles also thinks Biggie and Duffy should be in the MSU Ring of Fame at Spartan Stadium.



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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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