MIDWEST RECRUITING: Flint Carman-Ainsworth quarterback Dustin Fletcher chooses to go out of state, picking Northern Illinois
FLINT — If Michigan State comes calling, Dustin Fletcher might listen, but the rising senior quarterback at Flint Carman-Ainsworth announced Friday at the school that he was making a verbal commitment to Northern Illinois University.
The Class of 2020 signal-caller has started since the second game of his freshman season and turned down the likes of Harvard to commit to NIU.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Fletcher, who ranked as the 25th-best prospect in Michigan by 247Sports Composite, has a 3.8 grade-point average and was recruited by Ivy League schools. His brother, Michael, is an MSU recruit entering his freshman season as a defensive end.
“I’ve been there two times and I plan on being there a lot soon,’’ said Fletcher of NIU. “I knew about a month ago. I took my visit; I loved it. I didn’t commit when I took my visit, but I felt strong going home and I prayed about it. I asked questions of different people and when I figured out what I wanted that was the place for me.’’
Fletcher is following a trend of top players in the state leaving Michigan. Oak Park’s Justin Rogers (Kentucky) and Enzo Jennings (Penn State) are leaving Michigan along with Detroit King’s Rashwan Williams (Indiana) and Peny Boone (Maryland).
“Leaving home didn’t bother me,’’ said Fletcher, a dual-threat quarterback. “I just wanted to go where I would be comfortable. I was only being recruited as a quarterback.’’
Fletcher said he would consider MSU because of Michael but added: “I already have a home in DeKalb.
“We both had plenty of offers, but as far as making our decision. … Mike wanted to say home. I didn’t have a problem going far. I just wanted to go to a great situation. We’re trying to do something big in the 2020 class.’’
Buffalo, Western Michigan, Ball State, Old Dominion and Harvard were some of the other schools that offered Fletcher.
“It was tough saying no to Harvard,’’ said Fletcher. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At the end of the day I felt the people at NIU had my best interest and I can get a good education there.’’
Last season Fletcher threw for 2,602 yards and 19 touchdowns.
This fall will be different, though.
“We have a lot of young guys, but they are talented,’’ said Fletcher. “We’ve been working to get better.’’
With a bunch of seniors graduating, Fletcher now becomes the centerpiece of the Cavaliers this coming season.
“He’s a great person and we’re not going to put too much pressure on him. I watched him as an eighth-grader. When he came in as a freshman, he started the second game for us. He played in the first game against Grand Blanc and threw a really nice touchdown,” coach Jerry Parker said. “Grandmother (Lenora Reyes) wasn’t really excited about him being on the varsity as a freshman. We talked her into it. It was one of the best moves we ever made. Just seeing him grow as a young man and mature as a leader; taking charge of the team last year. He’s a super young man. I can’t say enough good things about him.’’