A group of nine Michigan State players are spending their only football-free weekend of the fall in Houston helping some of the city get back on its feet in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
The Spartan traveling party, organized by their Athletes in Action chapter, includes two players who grew up in the Houston area. Offensive lineman Tyler Higby and wide receiver Darrell Stewart said their families and homes made it through the storm without any major harm. Stewart said his mother recently moved from an area of the city that was heavily flooded in the first week of September. He told reporters last week that he was happy to see a group of his teammates willing to give their time to help his hometown.
"It means a lot, just seeing us as a Spartan family stick together and just help out the city that made me the man I am today," said the sophomore, who is emerging as one of Michigan State's top offensive weapons this season. "The main goal for me is going back and giving back to the city that gave a lot to me."
Plans for the relief effort during the team's lone bye weekend started less than two weeks ago. After a hectic stretch of sorting through the logistics of how to get to Texas and how they could help once there, the group flew to Houston on Friday morning.
They planned to return on Sunday in time for the team to resume its regular in-season schedule of practices and meetings. The Spartans (2-0) host Notre Dame when they return to football next Saturday.