Homestead senior and Purdue target Caleb Swanigan announced his decision today to play for Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans.
Next year I will be going Michigan State university. Once a spartan. Always a Spartan— Big Sauce (@Biggs_Swanigan) April 10, 2015
The 6'8", 260 lb. forward from Ft. Wayne had previously narrowed his list of finalists to Arizona, Cal, Chicago State, Duke, Kentucky, and Purdue. In addition to those schools, he also held offers from Georgetown, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Notre Dame, UCLA, and Louisville, among others.
Swanigan averaged 22.6 points and 13.7 rebounds as a senior for Homestead High School and led the program to its first ever 4A state title this year. He was honored as a McDonald's All-American, Gatorade's Indiana Basketball Player of the Year, as well as Indiana's "Mr. Basketball". The 5-star recruit was ranked by various recruiting websites as anywhere from 8th through 17th as one of the top prospects for the 2015 class. He was originally part of the 2016 class but was able to skip his junior season and reclassify as a senior in May of last year.
As an 8th grader, "Biggie" weighed over 350 pounds. That's about the time that he left his family in Utah and moved to Ft. Wayne to live with Roosevelt Barnes, a former Purdue athlete and NFL linebacker, who is now his legal guardian. Barnes played football, basketball, and baseball at Purdue before being drafted in the 10th round by the Detroit Lions in 1982. He was a backup guard on Purdue's 1980 Final Four team.
This would have been Purdue's biggest recruit since Glenn Robinson, though I'm not sure we were ever seriously in the picture. I said for months that he would end up in East Lansing, though I was convinced most of this week that he might end up with Cuonzo Martin at Cal (which would have been much more satisfying). Purdue hasn't landed an Indiana "Mr. Basketball" since Big Dog in 1991 and the last four have gone out-of-state to either Michigan State, Michigan, or Kentucky.
Either way, this is not a huge surprise and I look forward to seeing how the Boilers compete against him next season. He's a rare college talent that might not be around for long.