4-star WR commit Justin Layne lets his game do the talking


After a surprise commitment prior to the Michigan State spring game on April 25, people were left wondering just why highly-rated four-star wide receiver Justin Layne from Ohio picked the Spartans over Ohio State.

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Although he doesn’t talk much as opposed to the rest of the 2016 ‘Dream Team,’ that doesn’t mean he isn’t a silent killer on the football field.

“I just let my game do the talking for the most part, unless [opponents] are talking first,” Layne said with a laugh. “I just always kept to myself.”

It’s no surprise that one of the behind-the-scenes ‘Dream Team’ members doesn’t want to be heard, only seen. For guys like Layne, they thrive on the competitiveness that comes from showing and not telling.

Don’t worry, though, when it comes to his fellow class members for the 2016 campaign, Layne claims that he talks to them every single day as part of an ongoing group chat in which a handful of commits are included on.

Picking Michigan State may have been an unpopular opinion, even for a guy with such great character like Layne. Even though he seems respectful of everyone around him, some friends didn’t exactly respect his choice to say no to the Buckeyes and pick rival MSU.

“Most of them are happy with my decision and understand,” Layne claimed. “But there is always a couple out there that hate and tell me I should’ve went other places.”

Then why did he pick MSU after being considered an Ohio State-lean?

“The family aspect. They took the time out to get to know me. I felt like [Michigan State] put me in the best position to succeed academically and on the field.”

That seems to be a constant theme when it comes to recruits describing why they chose Michigan State. The family atmosphere and the brotherly bond that has been created thanks to guys like Mark Dantonio, Messiah deWeaver and Cam Chambers.

Speaking of Chambers, the Spartans have lured four-star wide outs such as him, Layne, Trishton Jackson and possibly Donnie Corley, but Justin welcomes the competition. He even states that he feels to pressure of competing for playing time a bit, but he knows everyone is there to win.

Winning is something former Spartan wide receiver Tony Lippett had been accustomed to as part of Michigan State, but he has moved on to bigger and better things, not before leaving a mark on Layne.

“My favorite college wide receivers would have to be Devin Smith and Tony Lippett,” Layne stated. “I look up to Lippett mainly because we’re similar sized and [going to] the same college. I talked to him a couple times. I talked to him for a long time during spring practice.”

As for advice that Lippett has given to Layne?

Oct 11, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Tony Lippett (14) catches a pass over at Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

“[He told me to] just stay focused and pick the school I felt most comfortable at before I had committed. Also, to get out of my comfort zone and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. So that stuck with me.”

Lippett’s strong words have translated into a Michigan State commitment and a player who aspires to be like the former top wide out in the Big Ten.

As a recruit, there is a ‘moment’ in which they realize that they belong at a certain college. For Layne, his moment came when he was watching his favorite college wide receiver play against Nebraska at home.

“My first visit, I was feeling [that moment]. But I’d have to say the first game I went to, I believe it was Nebraska, Tony [Lippett] caught a TD pass and I pictured myself doing the same. I loved the vibe.”

That vibe will hopefully translate to the collegiate level, according to Layne. The four-star wide receiver hopes to be a first-round NFL pick, win a national championship, lead the Big Ten in receiving and be the best wide receiver he can possibly be.

As for his role model of Tony Lippett, he has done a ton of work with Layne even if he hasn’t realized it.

“Even though he won’t follow me back on Twitter,” Layne joked.

Once he puts up All-Big Ten numbers, Lippett will have no choice but to follow the future star back on Twitter.

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