Matt Sokol | Spartans All-Access | Michigan State Football

(light, pleasant music) – My earliest memories of football was playing flag football
with my dad, probably in 4th and 5th grade, he was our coach. A lot of the kids growing
up, I was really close with. We were on the same team. Every Saturday morning being out there, just competing, having fun, and then I started playing real football, real tackle football in 6th grade for the Rochester Redskins. Played with them for two years and then played with my middle school my 8th grade year and then I started my high school career at
Rochester Adams High School. (soft, pleasant music) My dad’s the hardest
working person I know. He’s just instilled so many values in me at a very young age. All the morals, all the
discipline that my brothers and I all have, that all just
comes from him and my mom. The way they raised me
and he’s just taught me so much about hard work and
commitment to something. He shows us the right way to do things and how it’s supposed to be done when you know you have a job to do and just how to get it done. (crowd cheering)
(soft, pleasant music) I just love the game, honestly. At a really early age, it was
just so much fun competing. I just love the intensity of it. The true brotherhood aspect of it. I’ve had just so many great friends over the years playing football. Just a lot of life memories,
a lot of life moments that I’ve had I’ll carry
with me the rest of my life. But definitely just developed
a really early passion for it and just had so much fun
over the years playing. (crowd cheering)
(soft, pleasant music) I’ve played a whole bunch of different positions over the years in football. I started off playing
quarterback in very peewee. As I kept goin’ in middle school, I played a little offensive tackle, played some defensive end, played some tight-end
early in middle school. Throughout high school I played multiple different positions. I played outside linebacker,
I played defensive end, then finished my last two
years playing quarterback. (crowd cheering)
(soft, pleasant music) When I was a senior,
my younger brother Mark was my left guard and was
protecting me all season and made some huge blocks for me to have some good running lanes
and just playing with him my senior year was
something really special. That was probably something
that I reflect on a lot, just how much fun that was. And now, just very fortunate to be able to play at this level
with my youngest brother. Even though it’s the first
time playing a sport with him, it’s just such an awesome experience and something that I know
him and I will back on when we’re older and just appreciate how special of a time this was. (soft, pleasant music) (crowd cheering)
(soft, pleasant music) Probably after my junior
season in high school, that off-season, I was
starting to get into some recruiting kind of stuff
and just saw a lot of things slowly start to happen that
Spring time in my junior year of high school and
saw that I was able to have an opportunity to play college football at the tight-end position. (laughing)
Not necessarily a quarterback. I didn’t play tight-end in high school, I continued to play
quarterback even though, going into my senior year, I was committed to Michigan State and still playing quarterback
for my high school team. It was kind of a interesting story, but looking back on that,
I’m just so thankful for the way it played out and just thankful for all the schools that showed any interest
in me as a football player. I would say, in high
school, when Michigan State was just doin’ really well and I had come on a couple of recruiting
trips here in East Lansing and just really fell
in love with the campus and just really liked the
atmosphere that was here. I don’t know what it was really, but when I just walked in the door, I just felt such a strong
family atmosphere here. The coaching staff and then
finally I got to meet Coach D, I just knew that this was the
place that I wanted to come, this is where I wanted to come to work and just wanted to be
a part of this program. When I was fortunate enough
to receive an offer here, I just knew that this was the
place that I needed to be at and that it was just
the right place for me and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. (pleasant, upbeat music) – His work habits are unquestionable, he really goes above
and beyond all the time. He’s a young man who,
he’s very meticulous. He takes every little detail into account and always wants to be a little better. Whatever he can do to
keep analyzing himself, to keep thinking about what,
maybe, he could have done a little better on this
block, or this situation, or this route that could have maybe helped the team a little bit more. He always put it on himself, but in the manner so that
he can help the team. He’s really a lot of fun to coach, he’s a lot of fun to be around because of that attitude
that he leads his life with, but has always been a young man, as I said, that has always over-achieved and will do that the rest of his life. No matter what he does when he’s done playing football, he’s
going to be very successful. – Early on in my career here, I was kind of bouncing around
what major I wanted to pursue. I decided, probably a year
and a half into school here, that I wanted to pursue an
economics major, just cause it’s a really well-rounded
business-oriented degree, so I enrolled early here in Michigan State so I was able to graduate a semester early compared to the rest of my class and graduated this last December
with my undergrad degree in Economics and was
fortunate enough to apply to a Master’s of Science and
Marketing research program here at MSU and I got accepted this Spring and finishing up this
degree this December, so I feel really lucky to be
leaving this great university this upcoming Winter
time with two degrees. – Well Matt’s such a hard worker, he’s a great person. He’s already graduated, working on his Master’s degree, so
he’s a very smart guy. Plays on all the special
teams, as well as tight-end, I think that’s what really goes unnoticed. He’s an outstanding special
teams player and contributor. As far as a leader,
he’s a forward thinker. He’s always looking, I
think, for the next thing and the next challenge in his life. – [Announcer] Oh, that’s
a live ball right there. – [Announcer] Yielded
inside the five by Barkley, runs through and
– [Announcer] There you go! – [Announcer] Great ankle tackle! – [Announcer] That’s Sokol. – [Announcer] What a tackle by Matt Sokol at the seven-yard line! – Both require so much
discipline and focus every day and I think that those are two things that just require great emphasis on the field and in the classroom. I just feel it requires a lot of leadership in both
positions, in both areas, and I just feel that I’ve done my part in leading by example. Showing young guys how to do
things the right way here, on the football field
and in the classroom. And I just feel that when talking
about school and football, in both of those situations,
just requires a lot of discipline, a lot of
commitment to what you’re doing. I feel like I’ve done a good job in filling both of those roles. – [Announcer] Returnable for Andrew Clair, the true freshman out of St. Louis, he is walloped just shy
of the 20-yard line! Hammered at the 19 by Sokol! – My main goal this year, as a senior, is just to leave everything I have out on that field this year. Just be the absolute
best player, in my role for this team, as I can and make the big plays,
make every play I can, and just give everything I have to this team and to this program
for all that it’s given me. I’m just looking forward
to getting out there for one last go-around with all the guys I’ve been here for four
or five years with now. I just want to be remembered as somebody that represented the Spartan
football program the right way. (soft, pleasant music) (intense music)

About the Author: Garret Beatty

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