In 2010 Tony Fant Jr. was one of Detroit Loyola's top playmakers. At runningback Fant Jr. helped lead the Bull Dogs to 38-7 win over Shrine in the Prep Bowl. Fant Jr. was unable to get any college scholarship offers so he choose to walk on at Michigan State University.
"I transferred to Detroit Loyola my second semester of tenth grade in order to be eligible for the fall football season in 2009. I spoke with Coach Cal plenty of times before I signed any papers to enroll at the school. I didn’t play high school football that year so it was alright to communicate with him. Him and Coach Paul welcomed me with open arms and was the BIG reason I enjoyed my stay there until graduation. A bunch of my teammates from my youth football team and the youth league I played in, played there too so the chemistry was there for us. Playing at Loyola gave me and my teammates a chip on our shoulders. We were labeled as “no good boys who couldn’t amount to nothing in the classroom or on the field." But by my junior year, Coach Cal changed that. He motivated us like never before. He spent his hard earned money to upgrade the football faculty and helped us as a team, believing we were worth it. Not soon after Cal being named Head Coach we developed that “hungry” mentality. We practiced our tails off almost every day Cal allowed us. I even feed off of my teammates passion for the game (vibes) and it helped me really, really want to strive to lead my team because I was one of the team’s captains and I was taught to not ever disappoint.
Before the Prep Bowl my senior year, I spoke with Coach Cal and other seniors and he got extremely serious with us. Asked us what we want out of life; out of football; and from each other because playoffs were coming quickly and he wanted the best from us before the season was over. That meeting is what I believed helped us win that Prep Bowl the way we did.
Then heading into the first week of playoffs I was motivated to capture the eye of some college coaches because I couldn’t afford going to college camps and clinics like others, so I knew I had to ball out. My dad and my close friend/mentor Mr. Michael Black gave me a heck of a pep talk before that game and I ended up scoring three touchdowns, I didn’t do anything like that since youth football so I knew then I could play Division 1 football because of my abilities. My skills and confidence wouldn’t allow me to settle for anything less than that. Even though we lost that game, I knew it was only the beginning of something great. I received to division 2 offers and one NCIA offer, but I knew deep down I had to push my dream to the limit and try and aim high. Coach Cal said if that was where my heart was leading me, to take and to never stop fighting for it. So after Michigan State accepted me into their university I had my sights on them.
After graduation I got a summer job to help pay for the little amount of money I owed the school to enroll, I trained my butt off to work on to their program. I even put all my information all over the Internet in hopes of someone seeing it and helping me. Luckily, Coach Staten (an MSU Coach) saw it and helped me get in contact with the correct personal in the football office. Then when tryouts came around in September, sadly I didn’t make it, but that only made me want it even more. I was tired of people telling me I couldn’t do it or I was just aiming to high. So I worked even harder and kept in contact with the football staff and eventually made the cut in January.
Coach Filino called me after class one day and let me know I was given the chance to work out with the team and each day would let them know if they’ll keep me around or not. The conditioning they took me through was tough and made me become mentally tougher. It was like nothing I ever did before. The spring game was close to over-whelming. The pressure of a televised college game had me in awe. Though it was fun and exciting, I was nervous and a little scared, but after a couple of plays I was settled in and loved it all. All the clinics we hosted for the public made me happy too that I choose this university over all the others. There is no place else I’d rather be. The chemistry amongst the players and staff here really explains all the success our program has. I love my team. Besides, being a walk on isn’t hard, it’s a challenge. A challenge I’m always up to take. Its not easy at all, but it’s the mindset you have to have. Coach Dantonio has given me a heck of an opportunity by allowing me to play football here and experience the life of an MSU athlete. So each day I will grind my tail off to prove to him he made a great choice at picking me up. But most importantly it was all God who made the path to MSU even possible. This path is pretty hard to take and for me to be on it, didn’t come from me. It had to do with my faith and God’s plan. I have those two to really thank for me being at MSU."
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