July 16, 2009

Ohio LB enjoys MSU Camp

This past weekend Michigan State hosted over 250 prospects for a 1-Day Elite Camp. One of the players who was up there hoping to impress the Spartan staff was linebacker [/db]Willie Tatum[/db] of Pickerington Central High School in Ohio. SpartanMag.com spoke with the 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect and got some details on his recruitment and camp experience.

Last year Michigan State was able to land CB/WR Patrick White from Pickerington Central High School. This year the Spartan Staff is back at the Central Ohio powerhouse program taking a look at linebacker Willie Tatum.

As SpartanMag.com pointed out in an update earlier this spring, both Willie and his brother Wuan missed a considerable amount of their season last fall due to an address appeal that turned out to be incorrect. With that controversy behind them, the two brothers are focused on getting ready for their senior season and improving their recruiting stock.

Willie Tatum already has a solid list of scholarship offers on the table as Marshall, Ohio, Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green have already pulled the trigger. Numerous other schools are waiting to see him play this fall before they make a decision. Michigan State had the benefit of hosting Tatum on campus this weekend.T he camp was the first and likely only one that Tatum will attend this summer.

"It was real nice," Tatum said. "Coach Tressel said I was one of the top 3 linebackers at the camp. I felt real comfortable there. I liked how everything was close to each other. The facilities are real nice; I liked the weight room, the indoor football building and the campus."

In addition to Michigan State, Tatum is also hearing from school such as Louisville, Ohio State, Illinois, Maryland and Indiana.

"I was supposed to go down to Louisville the day after I went to Michigan State, but it was just a lot of driving," he said. "I spoke with my recruiting coach there and he said if I would have came down they would have offered me. I am supposed to talk with the head coach tomorrow, so I guess I will try and get down there sometime soon."

Did you get some feedback about when or if the Spartans might be offering you a scholarship?

"Coach Tressel said that he plans on seeing my first game and then he will meet with the coaches and make a decision. I talked to Pat White and he said Coach Tressel told him the same thing."

The first game for Pickerington Central will be a big one. The Tigers are participating in the Herbstreit Challenge and will meet the Orange County Lutheran Lancers of California. The game, which will be played at Ohio Stadium, will be televised on either ESPN or ESPNU.

Tatum could have a good shot at earning a Spartan scholarship offer if he performs well in that contest. The staff already has a middle-linebacker prospect in All-American Max Bullough and is looking for more of an outside type of player to compliment him. Tatum is known for his speed off the edge and ability to drop into coverage.

SpartanMag.com was able to observe Tatum on Saturday and he definitely has the type of frame you like to see in an outside linebacker. At 6-foot-3, Tatum has the height to add some quality mass and keep his speed.

Tatum indicated that he did well in the testing phase at the Spartan Camp. Players are not always told their results, but Tatum did indicate that he broad jumped 9-feet-7 inches and had a vertical of 32 inches.

With a twin brother that is also being recruited, it is possible that Tatum could continue his football career at the same school. SpartanMag.com asked Tatum about that possibility.

"All of the schools that have offered me are also recruiting Wuan, so it is a possibility," he said. "We would like to play together, but we also know we need to go wherever is best. I think Bowling Green could offer him soon."

Wuan is built thicker than Willie at 5-foot-11, 208-pounds. Like his brother, he also plays linebacker for Pickerington Central. The two brothers will form a lethal combination for many opponents this fall.

SpartanMag.com Wuan what he thought about the camp and Michigan State.

"I felt I did pretty well," he said. "Coach Tressel showed us around campus before the camp. It was real nice up there. I am looking forward to getting a chance to show coaches what I can do this fall. I was around 180-pounds last year and right now I am at 208."

Don't be surprised if the recruiting stock of both Willie and Wuan takes off this fall. The fact that they both missed much of junior season and they have not made extensive camp rounds has kept their stock down. One or possibly two teams are going to get solid football players come National Signing Day.

SpartanMag.com will continue to follow-up with both brothers as the season unfolds.


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