Football is Damion Terry’s life — his obsession. Those are his words.
It has been for a long time, apparently, as Terry recalls an incident in third grade when he took more interest in scribbling football plays on the back of his assignments than listening to the frustrated teacher in the room.
“Just being a little third grader, I was probably drawing some mess around plays like triple reverses and Hail Marys and stuff,” Terry said.
This past year Terry has gone from an off-the-radar prospect with modest offers from schools such as Pittsburgh and Boston College to MSU’s 6-foot-4, 220-pound promising young dual-threat quarterback. During that same period, many have made fantasizing about the Erie, Pa., Cathedral Prep standout an obsession of their own.
“Just ‘Can’t wait to see Damion Terry, he’s the future blah blah,’ stuff like that,” Terry said of what he reads on social media. “Everyone’s real excited and stuff.”
Terry was elevated to a four-star prospect on Rivals.com this fall after throwing for 3,599 yards and 50 touchdowns and adding 699 yards and 12 scores on the ground as a senior, capping his prep career with a 15-0 season and state championship victory.
“Just by the simple fact that he led his team to a state championship this year says a lot about him,” MSU quarterbacks coach Dave Warner said. “I was fortunate to see him play numerous games this year, and he lit it up every game. So (I’m) very, very excited.”
Head coach Mark Dantonio said Terry has the physical ability to play right now at his press conference Wednesday. Since he won’t arrive until July, Terry will be the low-man in a four-person quarterback competition.
“With Damion, we saw that ability to move the pocket, to create,” Dantonio said. “We also saw a very strong-armed quarterback when he came to camp and a guy that had a physical presence.”
College coaches weren’t shy, this fall, about inquiring about Terry — who committed to MSU in April — after his decorated senior season. He was set to visit Ohio State and Florida before he committed, but never wavered from the Spartans once he gave his pledge, he said.
“I just became committed to it really, and they trusted me since day one and I respect them a lot for that,” Terry said. “They saw my talent when no one really did at first. That sold me right there.”
Despite Dantonio’s comments last season hinting toward offensive philosophy changes and a focus on designed quarterback runs in bowl preparation, Terry said he understands the situation awaiting him this fall and is fine with taking a redshirt season.
“Obviously we’re all competitors and stuff, but I know I’m going to have a long, uphill battle just learning the playbook, getting used to it, just being a true freshman,” he said. “But I’m definitely going to go in there and give it my 100 percent and we’ll see what happens.”