Four-star back pledges to Michigan State


T.J. Duckett was a big-bodied running back that turned a stellar career at Michigan State into a first-round selection in the NFL draft. Gerald Owens (Westville, N.J./West Deptford) is hoping to take the same path.

The four-star running back/fullback committed to the Spartans on Friday. Michigan State will keep Owens, the No. 2 fullback nationally, at running back.

“I’m comfortable that they’re keeping me at running back,” Owens, who is 6-foot-2 and 248 pounds, said. “To me, playing football is everything and for a school to keep me [at running back] meant a lot.

“They told me I’d be a T.J. Duckett-type of back, a big physical back.”

Owens visited the Spartans in the spring and loved his one and only trip to East Lansing. He felt comfortable on his visit, liked the facilities and believes the staff will get him NFL ready.

“They get people to the NFL, the academic support is straight and they run the ball,” Owens said.

Owens, who also ranks as the No. 11 player in New Jersey, and his family have been thinking about a decision for the last few days, and Owens finally sat down with those closest to him Friday and hashed out a decision. He said everybody in his family was on board with his decision to head for Big Ten country.

The Spartans have racked up a few new commitments this week, and Owens gave coach Mark Dantonio one more reason to smile before the week ended.

“They were very excited when I talked to them,” he said. “Coach Dantonio said I made his day.”