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How Katin Houser and Germie Bernard have become the next high school duo to take MSU by storm

February 2, 2022
<p>Incoming freshman quarterback Katin Houser poses for a photo. Photo courtesy of MSU athletics.</p>

Incoming freshman quarterback Katin Houser poses for a photo. Photo courtesy of MSU athletics.

Photo by Rendering courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications | The State News

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne and redshirt junior wide receiver Jayden Reed were teammates in high school. We all know how well that worked out in 2021

Michigan State may just have another elite duo brewed from high school on its hands: Katin Houser and Germie Bernard. A four-star quarterback and a four-star receiver joined together in Las Vegas and just might be the next stars in East Lansing. 

However, both Houser and Bernard took unique paths to where they are today as early enrollees at MSU. 

The two talented players first united on the field in sixth grade and excelled at the junior varsity level as freshman at Liberty High School. As a sophomore, Houser had high hopes and a legitimate shot at becoming the varsity starting quarterback. The season was near, but a major setback changed everything for Houser: a stress fracture of his throwing elbow. Houser was forced to sit out a month and a half and by the time he was ready to return, the starting job was occupied and had no intentions of changing. 

So, other options had to be explored.

Transferring to another school in Las Vegas would have required Houser to sit out one year, quickly ruling that out. With COVID-19 ramping up at the time, Houser’s mother needed to be in California for her job, so it made sense to explore there. Houser eventually landed at St. John Bosco in Los Angeles where his recruiting took off despite splitting duties with fellow four-star and Louisville commit Pierce Clarkson. 

“I felt like I had enough talent and I knew how good I was going to be so I needed to go to a different school that was going to give me the opportunity,” Houser said.

In the meantime, Bernard remained at Lincoln High School and continued to prosper, even without Houser. First, Bernard made his commitment to Washington in the summer of 2020. Then, Houser committed to Boise State one year later. Neither of them held offers from Michigan State. A reunion seemed completely out of the picture. 

However, MSU was not shaken away from Houser, despite his commitment to the blue and orange Broncos. 28 days after his commitment to Boise State, Michigan State extended him an offer – one that was too good not to at least consider. In June, Houser decommitted from Boise State and took an official visit to East Lansing, the only school he went to for an official visit. Two days later he made his commitment to Michigan State. 

“On my visit they took me on the field and I tried on the uniform,” Houser said. “Just talking with the coaches and meeting some of the players and walking around East Lansing, it kind of just sealed the deal for me that this was going to be my new home.”

On the other hand, Bernard signed his letter of intent to play at Washington in December. But, things changed in a hurry for the Huskies. Washington Football Head Coach Jimmy Lake was fired in November, which already created a wrinkle. Then, around New Year’s, Washington wide receivers coach Junior Adams was hired by Oregon to become the Ducks’ co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. 

The ball rolled quickly and Bernard began to reconsider his pledge. He arrived at Washington on New Year’s Day and upon arriving received a phone call from Adams stating he was leaving for Oregon. Bernard was enrolled at the University, but did not attend class as he weighed his options. 

A few days later after conversations with his parents, Bernard returned to Nevada. He first connected with Michigan State offensive coordinator Jay Johnson after Lake was fired, but decided to stay with his commitment to play with Adams at the time. But when Adams departed, the door flew wide open and so did the four-star’s recruitment.

Then on Jan. 9, Bernard committed, signed and enrolled at MSU. 

“It was really emotional,” Bernard said of the situation. “I was able to talk to coach Jay (Johnson) and ask him if I was still able to be a Spartan. And I got the opportunity and I just never looked back.”

While the conversations with Johnson and wide receivers coach Courtney Hawkins played a large part in his commitment to Michigan State, Houser helped out too, telling the coaches he wanted Bernard at MSU. Bernard had never stepped foot in East Lansing until he was already enrolled in January. Instead, he relied on his old buddy, Houser, to gauge the feel for the campus. 

“If he says he likes it then I’m like ‘Okay, I’m gonna like it too.’” Bernard said. “And of course that’s my guy so I was like ‘Imma run with it.’”

Two guys raised from arid Nevada transitioning to a Michigan winter doesn't come without learning curves. It’s already difficult enough making the jump from high school to college and learning to balance being a student-athlete for a Division I program. To say Houser and Bernard’s adjustment to college life has been smooth probably is an understatement. 

“It’s been kinda hard just getting used to the weather,” Bernard said as East Lansing was dumped with snow on National Signing Day. “And then another thing is my sleeping. My sleeping is pretty bad because we are three hours behind in Vegas. When it’s 12 out here it’s only 9 out there so it’s just hard to sleep, but I am getting used to it now.”

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Houser said. “Living in California basically my whole life and just coming out here and experiencing the weather and the whole different changes being in college and having responsibility, it’s a big change…It’s so much thrown at me right now but I am enjoying the process of it and I’m loving it here.”

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Luckily, the two live with each other and have experienced the growing pains together. Bernard said it’s been a two-way street making sure each other wakes up in the morning while also taking turns with simple tasks such as getting food or taking out the garbage. 

With some adjustments and some skill building, Michigan State Football Head Coach Mel Tucker may have just found the perfect future successors to Thorne and Reed. 

“He’s definitely a game-changer,” Houser said of Bernard. “Just playing with him. And just give him the rock and give him the ball in space, I feel like he can make a play out of nothing. And as far as just matchups, if he is on the outside one-on-one I feel like I am going to take that matchup most of the time.”

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