Ethan Boyd's father recalls when the MSU football commit was a child. It feels like it wasn't that long ago the high school senior was.
"It just cracks me up," Phillip Boyd said. "I can remember when he was a baby and he used to sleep on my chest at night ... and now?"
He laughed, gazing at the 6-foot-7 offensive lineman that dwarfed every reporter that questioned him after he etched his name on to a piece of paper.
That piece of paper, on the morning of Dec. 16, determined one thing. His commitment to playing football for the Michigan State Spartans.
"It all still feels pretty surreal," East Lansing High School senior and three-star recruit Ethan Boyd said. "... That's (being so close) definitely a big part of why I chose Michigan State because I've been a fan my whole life. It's a dream come true honestly."
Boyd shivered and sat at the Patriarche Park picnic table under a pavilion on an icy December morning, with his teammate — wide receiver and fellow three-star recruit Andrel Anthony Jr.
Together, the pair signed letters to commit the next four years of their education and athletics.
"First of all I want to thank everyone for coming out here this morning," Boyd said. "I'm really looking forward to the next chapter in my life, and I'm really grateful for the people that have supported me throughout this process, throughout these last four years. With that being said, I'm signing with Michigan State University."
Anthony signed to play for the University of Michigan and Boyd, on the chilly first morning of the early signing period, for the team that he grew up watching next door.
Boyd starts at tackle for East Lansing High and is an integral part of a Trojan team that was undefeated until their season and playoffs were put on hold due to COVID-19.
Now, he'll soon get to suit up for the team that he only imagined he'd play for.
"The recruiting process was great with Michigan State," Boyd said. "Coach Kap (Kapilovic, offensive line coach at MSU), I can tell he's a great guy. That's the main reason. I chose to go work with him, and he's going to push me, which is what I want."
At 6-foot-7, 285 pounds, Boyd, who is the No. 50 offensive tackle nationally, according to 247Sports Composite Rankings, was the second commit to verbally pledge his decision in the class of 2021 for MSU. He chose MSU over offers from Cincinnati, Toledo, Iowa State and others.
But it's a family affair for the Boyd lineage, too.
Both his parents are graduates of MSU. Sherri and Phillip graduated in 1990 and 1993, respectively.
So, the decision was easy.
"I'm really excited for him," Head Coach Mel Tucker said on signing day. "He had a heckuva year, and I really enjoy watching his film. I got a chance to meet him. He's a great kid. ... He's what you're looking for, and he's got the length."
Tucker said the senior was able to meet with staff prior to the shutdown last spring and that "he's going to represent Michigan State very well, and I know his family is very excited."
East Lansing High School is less than a mile from the northern edge of MSU's campus.
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ELHS football coach and former Spartan football player, Bill Feraco, said that Boyd's commitment is evidence of a connection between community and campus.
“In a lot of ways those types of things are important because it shows that there is a connection between the immediate area, East Lansing ... and the university," Feraco said. "I think that the staff at Michigan State, Coach Tucker's staff, did a great job of recruiting him (Ethan) as they did. They’re getting an outstanding young man and a player that’s gonna develop into something special I believe."
Feraco, who coached Boyd for four years as a guard and tackle said that the important thing is this:
"He's not afraid to work."
"That's extremely important," Feraco said. "It's not just doing the things that you like to do. It's doing the things you don't like to do that are new to you and being patient with that. I think that the improvement that Ethan has made over the past four years ... it's almost geometric."
Boyd plans to enroll early, which Tucker said on Wednesday allows for eight to nine weeks of extra training before spring ball begins.
"I’m really proud of him," Sherri Boyd said. "He’s always loved Michigan State. I don’t know that he thought he’d play football there, but I know he’s really excited to move on, and he’s worked hard."
Like all parents who see their kid off to college, Sherri said Phil and she are "very proud of him."
"I think the fit was right for Ethan," Feraco said. "He knew it. It didn’t take him long to decide once the offer came up. We’re delighted that he’s close to him. ... And Coach Kap did a great job with him. … It’s a great fit.”
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