August 19, 2014

Recruiting: What's New, What's Next?

Anthony McKee still on track

Linebacker Anthony McKee of Columbus, Ohio is still scheduled to make his decision prior to the start of his senior season this fall. At this point all indications are that the 3-star prospect will eventually make a commitment to Coach Dantonio and the Spartans. McKee has a good relationship with the Spartan staff and has been in frequent contact with his position coach and primary recruiter Mike Tressel.

Kelly looking hard at two

All the information so far as John Kelly of Oak Park High School is that he is looking hard at the Spartans and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The original speculation was that Minnesota wanted Kelly as a running back. The fact that All-American running back Jeff Jones was cleared to join the Gophers could have an impact. Both the Gophers and Spartans have running backs commitments for the class of 2015. The word we have is that Michigan State views Kelly as someone who could help on either side of the ball and it is basically a matter of where he can get on the field the fastest. Much of the success at Michigan State under Coach Dantonio can be attributed to players that have been able contribute at multiple positions, Kelly certainly fits that mold.

Hart has Spartans on top

One of the benefits of recruiting Madre London last year is that he graduated from one of the top talent producing school in the nation in St Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For 2015 the Spartans are very interested in Aquinas prospect Christopher Hart. Rivals.com lists the 6-foot-3, 225-poudn Hart as a linebacker recruit, but he has the ability to add weight and could be a DE in the Marcus Rush mold. Hart has close to 20 scholarship offers, and has scheduled his first official to East Lansing for October 24th. Michigan State is his top choice at this point and that visit could be all it takes to make him a Spartan.

No hurry for final spots

Michigan State is currently sitting at 13 commitments in what will likely be an 18 man class. With only 5 spots left, and players like Anthony McKee and John Kelly solidly on the radar, the staff will be very selective with the final spots for 2015.

SpartanMag.com has learned that a few players who had MSU offers, but who committed elsewhere, have contacted the Spartans about potential interest. The information we have from our sources is that the staff has said, "Thanks, but no thanks". Part of that is due to the idea that the players had their chance to be a Spartans and they declined, but some of it is that the Spartans are in a position where they do not have to rush as they can over-recruit those players.

Keep in mind that teams that are not expecting to win a lot of games or where the coach is on the hot seat often try and secure as many early commits as possible as it is easier to hold commits than get them when you are losing. In addition, sometimes full recruiting classes are a factor in job security decisions.

No coach may be under more pressure to win this year than Will Muschamp of Florida. The Gators have the toughest schedule in the nation this year and if the Gators do not win 8 games, they will have a new coach in 2014. Keep in mind that two of the top players in Ohio, LB Jerome Baker and OL George Brown are currently committed to the Gators. Florida also has a host of players from Georgia and Florida committed.

Looking ahead to 2016:

Top class of 2016 quarterback prospect Malik Henry of California recently announced his top four teams and Michigan State was not include. Henry visited Michigan State back in June while he was doing a Midwest swing. The Rivals.com #2 rated quarterback is looking at UCLA, Ohio State, Florida State and Note Dame. Some of the schools are head scratchers when you look at depth chart, but that is Henry's problem. Several other class of 2016 signal-callers are considering early decisions.

Where they end up attending will likely impact who Michigan State eventually targets for 2016.To player we believe the Spartans could be strong players are listed below.

Jake Zembiec of New York has seen his stock blow up this summer and now holds a dozen BCS offers including scholarships from Big Ten programs such as Penn State, Iowa and Nebraska. Zembiec camped at Michigan State this summer and had a very strong performance. Rivals.com ranks him the #8 pro-style quarterback in the nation and the #171 player overall.

Seth Green of Minnesota is a dual-threat type of quarterback in the mold of a Damion Terry type of player. Greene also camped at Michigan State and had an outstanding performance. Green has a solid list of offers which includes Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound prospect is a Rivals 4-star and top 250 recruit.
Two things will likely occur over the next 12 months that will enhance Michigan State's ability to recruit another elite quarterback. The first is Connor Cook will likely become a house-hold name. Cook is known now, but if he plays this fall like he did at the end of last season, he will be a Heisman candidate. In addition, it is very likely that after the spring of 2014 the battle between Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry will be settled. It would not surprise anyone in the Duffy Daugherty building if one of them decides to go elsewhere to become a starter.


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