With National Signing Day just a couple of short weeks away for 2018 Clearwater (FL) Academy International defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado, the 6-foot-5, 230 pound 3-star recruit with a Spartan offer in hand took an official visit to #15 Michigan State over the weekend and recently recapped his visit with Spartan Nation.
Baldonado said that he enjoyed his visit to East Lansing and was a fan of the campus as well as the people he met on campus and said that the family environment he experienced around the coaches and football program left a lasting impression on him.
“I’m leaving here thinking that they have a great thing going on, a stable program,” he said. “They’re like a family and that’s really good.”
Big time offer and amazing visit at @MSU_Football !!⚔️???? Thanks to everyone for the amazing experience @Coach_Staten coach @DantonioMark great people in a special place ????????????#SpartansWill #goGreen pic.twitter.com/Qcxl7POHIU
— Habakkuk Baldonado (@abba1999) January 22, 2018
Baldonado, a native of Italy, was also joined by his mother, Paola Franceschelli for the visit as she was brought in from Italy by Michigan State to join her son.
Lee said that she appreciated the opportunity provided to her by Michigan State for her to join her son and help him make an obviously important decision regarding his future.
“It’s important to me because of course I want to be here in this, which is a key moment of his life,” she said. “The fact that they cared about that made me really happy.”
Lee also added that she was impressed with what she saw on campus at Michigan State and appreciated what she experienced when interacting with the community in East Lansing.
“It was an extraordinary weekend I would say,” she said. “Quite impressed by the welcome that they gave us by what I saw on the campus of Michigan State University. I found the people really, really committed, fully professional and also they have, in my view, an added value which is the human side of it, the social concern and the working as a team, there’s a solid team there.”
Baldonado echoed what his mother had to say and also reiterated that he enjoyed having the opportunity to experience the family environment in and around the Spartan football program.
“I will remember the place, I will remember the people,” he said. “The family that they have here and how they treated me.”
Also on his visit to Michigan State, the Baldonado said that he enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to and get to know Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio and later added he’s appreciative of the fact that the Spartans aren’t only recruiting the Baldonado the football player, but Baldonado the person first and foremost.
“He’s a great person,” he said. “A great, kind person. Lovely.”
“They’re looking at me as a person first, and then as a football player.”
So far in the recruiting process, Baldonado holds offers from 12 schools, including offers from Nebraska, Oregon, UCONN, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Central Florida, along with Michigan State.
While Baldonado told Spartan Nation that the Spartans remain very much in the mix for him with National Signing Day just over two weeks away, he still plans to use his remaining official visits, which include trips to Nebraska and Pittsburgh and potentially one other stop.
With a decision still pending, the 6-foot-5, 230 standout defensive end, who plans to major in mechanical engineering, said that academics will play a big role in the school that he ends up choosing.
“The academic part is as important as football for me,” he said. “After football, you have a big part of your life to live, so you will need something, another skill other than football.”
But with the visit to Michigan State officially in the books, Lee admitted that there was a lot to like from their time on campus in East Lansing, but there were a couple of things that stood out most to her.
“Several things, like I said before, the kind of human and social value that they give to the whole program and the people,” he said. “I went through the publications and talking to the people and I see there is a great concern for making our world a better world in many different instances. To me this is very important. Then, I met some of the famous people and well known people and they were all very, very open and very sweet to me. I enjoyed the whole experience.”
Remember to check back to Spartan Nation for all of the latest news on this top defensive line prospect out of the state of Florida and the Spartans!