September 15, 2017
MSU won’t be taking to the gridiron this weekend as they have an early bye week, but for several members on the team, the off week won’t be a time to completely relax.
For sophomore guard Tyler Higby, wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. and wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel, the hurricane hit right at home as they are all natives of the Houston area.
The catastrophe has brought numerous celebrities, athletes and public figures to use their platform to raise awareness and collect donations for those affected by the hurricane, including Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, who set up a relief fund for the victims of Harvey’s destruction.
Watt, with an initial goal of $200k, would soon be taken in awe as he easily surpassed that goal.
As of Thursday night, Watt’s fund has raised over $33 million.
“To me, it’s an honor for those guys to actually put back into the city what the city gave them,” Stewart said. “Guys like that, superstars like that, it’s a big responsibility, so it honestly feels good. Someday I’ll be in their shoes giving back to the community also.”
Higby said that the idea to make the trip started with the team’s chaplain, and from there, it quickly developed into a feasible expedition.
“I think it was really his idea at first, and then he kind of talked to me about it to see what I thought about it and how I think it would all work out,” Higby said. “So he talked to some people, and he got in touch with my mom, and him and my mom have been talking a lot about what we’re going to do when we go down there and kind of have a plan for it all.”
According to Higby, the plan is to leave early Friday morning and help out the area until Sunday.
In spite of the unfortunate conditions, Higby said his family has managed to get to both games this season.
“They had to drive to Austin for the first game because the Houston airports were closed, but they’re good, families good, my friends are good,” he said.
Higby said everyone in Houston is getting back together, but admitted seeing the initial destruction photos was hard to see.
“It was hard to see at first because I recognized a lot of the area in a lot of the pictures that were taken, and I’d never seen anything like that in my 18 years down there,” he said. “But it’s been good talking to my friends and seeing how they’re doing to make sure everyone’s all right, but it was tough at first.”
Samuel, whose entire family is in Houston said the support he has received by the people in Michigan has been tremendous.
“You have family, you have friends, and they’re dealing with a lot right now,” Samuel said. “You pray for them. You try to support them as much as you can. … It hasn’t been easy, but my family here (at Michigan State) has been really supportive, so that’s been great.”
Head coach Mark Dantonio wouldn’t reveal the exact plan or the specific number of players going, but insisted it was for a good cause.
“I’m not going to sit here and talk about who is going or all these different things. I just think it’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s a good cause, and our guys are going down for the right reason. So just leave it with that.”