Josh Butler | Spartans All-Access | Michigan State Football

Josh Butler | Spartans All-Access | Michigan State Football

(suspenseful music) (cell phone vibrating) – I first heard the news from my cousin. He texted me to let me know. He was like, “Yeah, your dad passed away.” I went to Coach Barnett, he just held me in his
hand, held me in his arms. That’s when all like the rest of, rest of the word got out
and my teammates just pretty much just all surrounded me. – We all immediately went to him. He was struggling, asked him if he, what he wanted to do. He was scheduled to start that day. He wanted, really, to be around his team, that was his family. – I said yeah. I know he would wanna
watch the game anyway. I told him I was gonna be
able to start that game. And so, we walk. And we’re going down
like our Spartan walk, our normal Spartan walk that we do. And I’m surrounded by
Chris Frey and Mufi Hunt, and they’re just holding me. When we get to the field, we all traditionally
lock arms and walk on. But me and Coach D stayed behind. And he just, he just wanted me to know that like… my brothers, they’re here for me. And they were there for me, you know. (melancholic music) (quivering exhale) (somber music) My parents were divorced, but my dad, he was always around. We grew up with him, he raised us, he did everything he can. And that means a lot, especially, like the environment we’re in, like most people don’t have a dad. Most people don’t get
to grow up with having a father in their life. You know, he was a big part of my life, he was the main reason why I love school so
much and stuff like that. And my mom, she’s a very,
very, very strong woman. I grew up in Dallas, Texas. The street was 1310
Hendricks in Dallas, Texas. We had a nice little view
of the city where I grew up. Pretty much our
neighborhood was all close, everybody knew everybody on every block. And so we all just kinda bonded from then and everybody was, went to
the same elementary school, same middle school, same high school. But it was definitely
tough where we came from. We was always moving around, bouncing around, house to house. It was a lot of negativity, basically. And so, it’s just what
it was, violence, drugs. – The focus level for him to avoid the temptations of partying and doing various things was elite and with the temptations, right, that exist for most
teenagers, but specifically teenagers from the foe block where them guys are from
out there in Mesquite. It’s rare to have seen
kids that have gone through the adversity that he had gone through – Sports was the main thing
to keep us distracted, that and school. I was the (laughs) out of all my brothers I say I was the one who’s
was main focus was school. Soon as I get from
school, go straight home. Do my homework and I’d be
free for the rest of the day and just hanged out with my friends. And me and my friends we just, well all we did was more
sports stuff anyway, so. Just kept doing that repetitively, and not knowing like, it was
gonna keep me out of trouble just doing it ’cause I felt
like doing it and felt like it was fun for me. (upbeat music) – Wasn’t the biggest kid, he wasn’t necessarily the fastest kid, but he was a kid that worked the hardest. It’s kinda one of those
things where you know, you started out as a
freshman, a sophomore, he might not even have the best, best player on the team at the time. As he kinda grew up to
being a junior, he kinda, you know really worked his way
into being a starter for us. And then you know, of course
as a senior he came in and all that hard work paid off. You get him out on the field, he was the fastest kid on the field. Everybody sometimes felt like they were running in slow motion. – Josh Butler was a ball playing guy and when the lights came on, he was a good practice player, he was good Monday through Thursday. But on Friday, Man he turnt up and
became a whole ‘nother guy and made just a bunch of plays for us. Was just and encouragement
to his teammates. You know, he got other guys
around him to play better. – [Josh Butler] Coach Ward,
he really helped my game go up another level. And that’s when like the
crowds became bigger, you know, a lot of the people
started noticing who I was. (contemplative music) – All the kids would
just flock to my house. They didn’t have anywhere to
go, that’s where they stayed. When they didn’t wanna go
home, that’s where they stayed. I just got used to coming in the house and just stepping over. He would come and say, “Can I come?” Or you know, “Can I stay the night?” Or whatever the case might been. But it was times when you
just knew, you just knew. You know when they were all at the house or he was sitting at the
house, you just didn’t, you knew it was something, that this is where he needed to be. – It was kind of an all hands on deck. It wasn’t even a planned
thing, it wasn’t something that all the adults sat down and said “Hey you do this, I do this, you do this.” It’s just, people kinda
stepped in you know, and you know, his friends’
moms helped out a lot. Josh would get to school extremely early. School started I think 8:45 and he would be in the coach’s office 7:15, 7:20, just watching film. You know because, that’s what he did. He’d get there early because he had to. And he’d just sit there and watch film. You kinda just understood,
that’s his character, he’s just going to handle
it and move forward and do what he can do and
control what he can control. (melancholic music) – Man those guys that
were, that grew up together on the foe, like they used to call it, were close knit guys away from the field. Their parents raised ’em all together and I think that that community
that kinda adopted the, you know, the village
mentality in terms of when you see my kid outta
line get ’em corrected, and when I see your kid outta line I’ll get ’em corrected. – It takes a community,
cause I would hope that if if it was my personal
kids that somebody would reach out and do the same thing. It’s just what it is, and they all just stay
close to one another, take care of one another. – Spending more time with
them, more than anything was a blessing, you know. They became a huge impact on my life. It was like a lot of
rough stuff happening, and I just needed somewhere to stay. And they took me in with open arms. That right there you know, I could’ve been homeless, I could’ve, anything could’ve happened. (bus engine rumbling) (soft music) – The Greyhound bus ride
took 49 straight hours. It was an experience, I’ll tell you that. Like, I stopped in a bunch of places. It’s something that
wouldn’t stop me, you know. It was the most affordable thing that I could, you know, handle, or that we could like come up with. – I was told, “Wanna go visit Tennessee.” Okay then you gon’ come on back. Then I remember my kid’s dad getting a phone call. He’s like, “Did you know “they putting Josh on the
bus to go to Michigan?” I said, “No Josh can’t get on no bus “to go to Michigan State,
what’s wrong with y’all, “who bought that ticket?” He said, “Well I bought it.” I said… “Why would y’all send that
baby all the way to Mi– “what is he gon’ do once
he get off the bus?” – I recall conversations with
Josh with him saying like, man, I kinda want, I wanna
get out of Texas, like, I wanna experience something else. His demeanor, his work ethic,
his character and mentality. I had no doubt that he would make it wherever he decided to go. – That’s the kind of kid he is. If it’s there and it’s
laid out for him, a plan, and he buys into, he’ll go
to any distance to do it. I don’t think there is an extreme for him. (crowd roaring) – [Sports Announcer]
Walsing takes the snap! And trouble in the back field. And drilled and dropped back at the 16. Spartans all over ’em. Josh Butler from the corner. (redemptive music) – Nobody else really is like, persuading me to go to a certain school. They made me make my own decisions, which I’ve been doing
my whole life anyway. I just didn’t let nobody
know until, you know like close to the end, I was like, yeah I was gonna go to Michigan State anyway. (laughs) Whether you like it or not, whether it’s super far
away from Texas or not, you know I can fly back. For one, I wanted to get out of Texas, you know, just to experience life more, you know, get to know places. And I’m glad I came to
Michigan State anyway, because I’ve been through a lot,
I’ve been through a lot. Everybody who actually says
like, it’s a family here, they’re for real, it’s
really a family here. And they take care of you. No matter what you going through you could always have
somebody to talk to at least. I had them to help me out through pretty much anything, you know. Especially dealing with
the deaths of my family, and my family, you know. It was a great decision
that I made, you know. (emotional laugh) Probably one of the best
decisions of my life. (dogs barking) (birds chirping) My mom first told me she had stage 4 cancer
for the second time. When that happened, you know, I was able to actually finish, finish classes and stuff early. And I packed up all my stuff, and they told me it was a
possibility of it being terminal. You know, it was tough
to like, just see it. You know, ’cause nobody wants
to see your mom struggling and stuff like that. When she passed, we was able to give her
a nice funeral service. Everybody wore pink and
white for breast cancer. We was able to get a proper
burial and stuff for her, which was great. Also with my time down there, it was a lot of business
I had to take care of. Actually my dad’s ashes, I took that and I drove two hours to his mom’s grave ’cause he never got the chance to actually visit his mom when he lost his mom. He just pretty much went
to, into depression. Knowing that now and knowing like what your parents was going through and stuff like and understanding it. I got a better understanding of life and what really goes on in life and it shows who is there for
you, and stuff like that. But I drove down two hours
to my grandma’s grave and I buried the urn
there with my grandma. And this, like I said,
this is what I got from it. And like I said, I keep
it with me at all times. – Sometimes you just need to be there and wrap your arms around him and just hold him ’cause
that’s what he needs. You know, I think growing
up there’s probably a lot that he missed out on. It’s been hard for him. It’s been hard to just sit here and watch him come and go. You know that it’s on his mind, and no matter how much you
hug him, until it passes, until it gets a little older, it’s gon’ be there. We sat here and he balled
and I balled with him. But, it’s gon’ be okay. – For him to continue to do things the way he’s doing ’em and
represent Michigan State and represent his last name and his community where
he went to high school. There’s something great at the end of this journey for Josh Butler. You can just feel it. – There’s not a day that don’t go past where I don’t think about my mom or think about my dad. I know they’ll be proud of me, regardless. I just know that my parents
are looking down from up above and just smiling. (mourning music) – Sit, sit. Good, shake. Good. – Josh is a winner, and
he’s always been a winner. And he’s continuing to win right now. What he did, not only will it inspire a generation of young
folks that look up to him like his little brothers,
kids growing up over there in the West Mesquite attendance zone that know Josh Butler,
he’ll inspire those folks to go out and be different and pursue college. And then for his own family, he just rewrote the whole story, this point forward on the Butler boys. – Josh is just another example of when you make a decision,
no matter your circumstance, anything that you’re willing to fully put everything you have
into is achievable. Like they say, he got it out the mud. I mean, through and through. I know that’s a popular
thing for people to say, Josh Butler is a perfect example of a kid that made a decision and no matter the circumstance, he got to where he wanted to be. You know, and I don’t think
that journey’s over for him. Keep being Josh Butler, be you. And I think that’s something
that he’s embraced. You know, I think that’s where the Josh Butler TV thing comes from. – [Josh] Academic excellence,
academic excellence, Roxy! That’s what we did, that’s what we did! – I really believe that
because of everything that he’s been through, he sees his self, being in that role model
to help the next person. And that’s where I see
him at the at the most. Whether it is doing one
of his crazy videos, you could be having a bad day, and because he done came
and did something crazy you just be laughing all over the place. And I think he brings that
out of the next person. – I actually got a hit
on a running back today. – From the day I stepped on campus, to going through adversity. Being able to live
prosperous and thank God for being able to at least graduate or to get two degrees at that. I’m glad that I’ve went through everything that I went through. And I’m glad that I did it here. (upbeat music)

8 thoughts on “Josh Butler | Spartans All-Access | Michigan State Football

  1. I cried like a baby watching this, and I'm not an emotional person. I found my way here after watching the heartwarming video of him taking his too dogs onto the field for Spartans Senior Day. Josh, as a parent I can tell you, your parents are looking down on you, and they are VERY proud. You truly are an inspiration.

  2. As a hardcore and life-long Badger fan, this makes me a BIG-10 fan for life. What a beautiful story. Go Michigan St!! Awesome!! Made me tear up!!

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