Nov. 14, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men's golf head coach Casey Lubahn announced that the program received two signed National Letters of Intent today from Michael Sharp (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) and AJ Varekois (Rockford, Mich./Rockford). The pair will begin their Spartan careers in the 2014-15 season.
"This has been an extremely fun class for us," said Lubahn. "Michael and AJ are young men that we have built wonderful relationships with over extended periods of time. During the process, we have watched them grow into special players and more importantly, upstanding young men. They are truly first-class character guys and come from great families. As a staff, we have talked a great deal about how blessed we are to spend four years with these guys in our program, and we feel stronger about that every day."
Sharp has been a four-year letterwinner at East Noble High School and head coach Richard Bentz. Sharp has twice finished in the top-10 at the IHSAA Championship, placing fifth as a freshman in 2011 and seventh last year as a junior. He was 28th as a sophomore. In addition, Sharp was the IHSAA Sectional medalist. Sharp is a three-time Indiana High School All-State selection, while also being named KPC News' Player of the Year each of his first three seasons. As a junior, he was tabbed as the News-Sentinel Northeast Indiana Player of the Year.
Sharp had a successful summer, winning the 2013 Indiana Masters Tour Championship, placed in the top-10 at the AJGA Stonehenge Open and qualified for the USGA Amateur Public Links.
Academically, Sharp was honored as a 2013 AJGA Scholastic All-American. He is currently No. 1 in his graduating class with a 4.0 grade-point average.
The son of Rick and Kimberly Sharp, he has a sister, Katie, who is currently a freshman on the Spartan women's golf team. His father played baseball at Evansville from 1980-84. Aside from golf, he has also lettered the last two years in basketball.
"Michael is a young man who made it clear early that he wanted to be a Spartan and we couldn't have been more excited for his passion for MSU," said Lubahn. "At 6-7, he has the length and power to compete, but also worked hard to control his golf ball and execute in the short game. His demeanor is wonderful for the ups and downs of our game, as he is very steady. This summer was a wonderful time of growth as he played well in high school, junior and amateur golf. Qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Public Links and being first alternate at the U.S. Amateur qualifying here at Forest Akers, showed he is ready to compete at the collegiate level. I expect him to step right in and help us from day one. Additionally, this University is getting an exemplary student as Michael is one of the best we have ever recruited from an academic standpoint."
Varekois has been a four-year letterwinner at Rockford High School for head coach Erin Cullum. As a junior, he earned all-state super team honors, after placing third at the state championship, winning six events and finishing in the top-3 of all 10 matches. In addition, he was named Academic All-State, and all-conference and all-area for the third-straight season. His sophomore season, Varekois was an honorable mention all-state choice.
Over the summers, Varekois has had success on the AJGA Tour, placing second at the McArthur Towel and Future Legends Tournament this past summer, and sixth at the 2012 Coca Cola Championship and the 2011 McArthur Towel and Future Legends Tournament. Also, he was named the 2012 Adams Junior Tour Player of the Year.
He is the son of Mark and Gwen Varekois.
"AJ is a tenacious competitor in everything he does and that shows in how hard he plays on the golf course," said Lubahn. "He has a very natural ability to get the ball up and down around the greens, and he has worked hard to become a great ball striker. He has proven that he is ready to compete by excelling at the high school and junior level throughout his career. His humble upbringing and attitude only make him work harder every day. He has had great instruction and he continues to learn more every day. Since we started here at MSU, he has been our number one priority in Michigan for his class and I am so grateful he chose to come be a Spartan. He is going to be an asset for us on the course, in the classroom and in the locker room."