June 6, 2011

MSU Recruiting News & Views

Who will MSU's next commitment be?

That is a good question. The obvious choices are either quarterback Tyler O'Connor of Ohio or offensive lineman Frank Taylor of Pennsylvania as both players are expected to make a decision this week. Taking those players out of the equation, let's look at some other scenarios.

Michigan State is getting ready to begin the camp season and that is traditionally a time when they pick up multiple commitments. One camp session in particular that could pay dividends is the Spartan Big Man or OL/DL Camp. Many prospects that hope to earn a Michigan State scholarship will be in attendance as well as several players that already have an offer.

If an offensive lineman earns an offer at camp he will have had to have really impressed the staff. With 2 commitments already in place (Zach Higgins and Benny McGowan) and at most only 2 spots left, the staff is going to be very selective. In years past offensive linemen such as Ethan Ruhland, Micajah Reynolds, Henry Conway and Michael Dennis all came to camp and earned their offer. It might be tougher for players to do that this summer. The Spartans are in on so many high-level offensive line prospects; a player that earns an offer at camp will have to have had a dominant performance.

If Taylor decides to become a Spartans, the selection process will get that much tighter. If he becomes the 3rd Spartan offensive line commitments, I expect the staff will push for a few select players such as Ryan Ward, Kyle Dodson, Adam DePietro, Adam Bisnowaty and Jm Cashman to fill out the final spot.

In my opinion it is more likely that a defensive lineman will earn an offer at camp. It is not out of the question that if that happens, a commitment could come soon afterwards. That is what has happened with players like Jerel Worthy and Taylor Calero.

A player who has indicated he plans on attending a session of camp is defensive tackle Vontrell Williams of Chicago, Illinois. If Williams is offered by the Spartans, I am sure they would be happy to take his commitment.

Another name to keep an eye on is Alex Pace of Glenville High School. Pace is seeing his stock rise significantly this spring and we were informed that he plans on visiting Michigan State for a day of camp this summer.

What happens if Michigan State does not get a commitment from Tyler O'Connor?

In short, they recruit another quarterback. I do not like to speculate on the assumption that Michigan State will miss on a player, but look at it this way. How difficult will it be to sell a player on playing in front of 75,000 people for a team that is coming off a Big Ten Championship and is poised to compete for another this year?

When you throw in the fact that the last several Spartan quarterbacks have all gone on to the NFL, and it is not a tough sell. Michigan State's quality quarterback coaching and pro-style offense is an attractive option for many prospects.

If the Spartans happen to miss out on landing O'Connor I will go into more depth on this situation, but here are a few names of note:

  • Wes Lunt of Illinois
  • Chad Kelly of New York
  • Brian Blackburn of Michigan
  • Tyler Cameron of Florida
  • Austin Appleby of Ohio
  • Cooper Rush of Michigan
  • Perry Hills of Pennsylvania

    The quarterback talk could be a moot point if O'Connor decides the East Lansing is where he will call home the next 4 years. Spartanmag.com will break-down all of the above players from a talent and recruiting perspective if O'Connor does not decide to be a Spartan.

    Do you see a change in Michigan State's recruiting philosophy this year?

    Yes I do. I think two trend s are emerging.
    The first trend is that Michigan State is making a concerted effort to recruit powerhouse states Florida and Texas. The Spartan have always recruited Florida under Mark Dantonio, but they have not been this aggressive on the recruiting trail this early.

    As far as Texas, the staff has not really recruited the Lone State State prior to this year. They had two coaches down in Texas during the May evaluation period and have offered double-digit players from there. The staff is not down in Texas just for show, they hope to sign a player or two from there.

    The second trend is I see Michigan State being more selective and willing to wait on some high-level prospects. Keep in mind, Michigan State is coming off a Big Ten Championship, they have gone to 4 consecutive bowl games and they return the best stet of skill position athletes in the conference.

    The staff believes they are going to be a quality team this year once again and are looking to capitalize on the program's success. It only makes sense. Teams like Oregon, Virginia Tech and Missouri have all expanded their "base" due to on-field success. Michigan State is in a position to do the same.

    As the season progresses, some teams will perform poorly on the field, some teams will have coaching due to success or failure. Michigan State is a stable situation that should allow them to capitalize as long as they take care of business on the field.

    Last fall the Spartans closed with out of area recruits like Fou Fonti, Matthew Romando, Shilique Calhoun and Brandon Clemons. Yes they missed on some others, but if you want to land some of them you have to be willing to roll the dice. Mark Dantonio obviously feels like the program is in a position to do just that. That is testament to the progress the team has made over the last 4 season.

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