By: Will Burchfield
Michigan State suddenly has a big hole to fill on its offensive line.
According to the Free Press, Thiyo Lukusa has quite the team and relinquished his scholarship. The rising sophomore was projected to start at right tackle in 2017, but said his heart wasn’t in it.
“I really haven’t been in love with football since I was in high school,” Lukusa told the Free Press. “It’s been awhile, probably since I was a sophomore or junior. I went home for Christmas and had a great time with my family Up North — just being away from football and doing other things and working out and playing basketball and running.
“I had been thinking about not playing for a long time. I finally just decided that I’m gonna go through with it and kind of weather the storm, whatever it brings.”
Lukusa appeared in eight games for the Spartans in 2016, becoming just the second true freshman to play on the offensive line during Mark Dantonio’s ten-year tenure.
“I’m very grateful for opportunity they gave me at Michigan State and will forever cherish that chance,” Lukusa said. “I’m definitely not passionate enough about football right now to have my life revolve around it. I wasn’t happy. Football was a big portion of my life for a long time. And to give it up was hard to me.
“For me, the hardest part was giving up my friendships and the relationships I built at Michigan State. That was the hardest part for me. Football, at this point in my life, is kind of take-it-or-leave-it.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Lukusa posted an Instagram photo of him and fellow freshman OL Matt Allen, with the caption, “I would lie and say it was fun but it’d be a lie. Miss Matty and the boys though.”
Lukusa told the Free Press he is now enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College in his hometown of Traverse City, seeking an associate degree in criminal justice. He hopes to one day go into the CIA or FBI or become a DNR conservation officer.
A three-star recruit from DePaul Catholic H.S. in New Jersey, Lukusa was the 13th-ranked player in the Spartans’ 2016 class and the top-ranked offensive linemen, according to 247Sports.
Michigan State has five offensive linemen in its incoming class.
Last week, offensive line coach Mark Staten suggested players that lack passion for the game are better off not playing.
“I got a group that loves to play this game. I got a group that is excited about playing this game,” he said, via the Free Press. “If you don’t love this game, if you don’t put forth that work ethic, it’s hard to play. … I can’t make you love the game. So if your heart’s not in it, then you’re wasting everybody’s time.”