March 6, 2011

Recruiting Wrap: Commitments ahead?

Though signing day was barely a month ago, it is time to look toward the class of 2012 and the possibility of early commitments. History tells us that March is a good month for Mark Dantonio when it comes to recruiting.

A of right now, Michigan State does not have any commitments for the class of 2012. While that may concern some, consider the fact that Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan do not have any commitments at this point either.

March has been a pretty good month for Michigan State under Mark Dantonio. Last year they picked up commitments from Lawrence Thomas and Taiwan Jones during March. In previous years they have landed high-level recruits like Andrew Maxwell, Larry Caper and Blake Treadwell.

However, they have been months when Michigan State did not land any commitments in February or March. Mark Dantonio's first full year of recruiting did not see a commitment until Charles Burrell committed at the Green and White Game in April.

In the fall of 2008 Max Bullough committed to Michigan State for the class of 2010. It would be until May of 2009 before Tony Lippett became the second commitment.

So who could be the first commitment for the class of 2012?

In-state players will often commit earlier that out of state players. As of right now the Big Ten has 11 players committed, all but one are committed to in-state schools.

So who will be the first Spartan commitment?
The Spartans have offered 10 players in the class of 2012. The obvious choice for the first commitment would be Riley Bullough of Traverse City Saint Francis. Bullough is a legacy recruit and his brother is a Spartan.

With that said, I have a feeling Bullough will use this spring to visit schools like Michigan State, Iowa, Notre Dame and a few others. Bullough may very well pull the trigger and become a member of the Spartan family, but he may not be the first.

Michigan State has offered two players from Cass Tech High School, Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson. As many know Cass Tech is known as a University of Michigan feeder schools. If Richardson or Jenkins-Stone pull the trigger early it will be for the maize and Blue and not Green and White.

Michigan State has offered all 3 players at Farmington Hills Harrison, wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, defensive end Mario Ojemudia and tight end Devon Funchess. Harrison has been a school that Michigan State has recruited well over the years.

The Spartans should be an attractive option for Burbridge. Michigan State will graduate 3 starting wide receivers after this year which means a shot an early playing time. The Spartans pro-style offense lends itself well to a player like Burbridge who has the speed to stretch the field.

As for some of the other players that have Michigan State offers, such as Danny O'Brien, Matthew Godin, Dennis Norfleet and Kelby Latta. We expect most of them will wait until summer to make a college choice if not later.

Could a quarterback commit early?

Quarterbacks traditionally do commit earlier than other prospects. Much if that is due to the fact that most schools will only take 1 quarterback per class. If a player wants to go to that school, they often need to jump on the opportunity.
It also does not hurt that quarterback commitments can often help attract other players to a school. Knowing that a school has a quality quarterback is a positive sign for overall recruiting.

According to the database Michigan State has offered three quarterbacks for the class of 2012, Bennie Coney, Wes Lunt and Taylor O'Connor.
Coney would seem unlikely to make an early decision due to being from Florida and having numerous SEC offers. Coney will likely be a player that takes his official visits.
Lunt and O'Connor could be players that make a spring or summer college choice. However, I would expect that Michigan State would want both players on campus several more times before they would want them to make a decision. Last year Connor Cook committed to Michigan State in April, it was his 7th time on campus.
Additional news and notes:

-Ohio State has offered Frank Epitropoulos of Ohio. Look for him to be a Buckeye sooner rather than later.

-Top Spartan RB target William Mahone of Austintown Fitch High School has picked up offers from Penn State and Notre Dame

-Ohio OL Kenton Playko of Olentangy High Schools is blowing up and Michigan State is closely evaluating him. It is a great year in Ohio for OL talent

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