In typical Mark Dantonio fashion, the Spartans are quietly getting it done on the recruiting trail again in the 2013 class. They have locked in seven verbal commitments thus far including two Ohio prospects in linebacker Shane Jones (Moeller HS) and safety Jalyn Powell (Warren Harding HS). I sat down with Jim McEvoy from Shaw Lane Spartans and talked about those two and where things stand in 2013.
1) What should Buckeye fans know about Michigan State's 2013 class? What are your feelings about the class thus far?
The class of 2013 is typical Dantonio in terms of quality. All of the committed prospects seem to be above average and potential Big Ten starters. A couple (Shane Jones & Caleb Benenoch) have some pretty impressive offer sheets and physical gifts. This seems to be par for the course under Dantonio, solid talent.
A strange thing that's happening is that MSU is definitely moving away from winning Michigan in terms of recruiting. Undoubtedly a portion of this is related to Hoke working so diligently to lock up Michigan. Another portion is that MSU has set it's sights to winning prospects away from states it's not traditionally recruited well in the past. MSU has commitments from R.J. Shelton (from Wisconsin with a Wisconsin offer) and Benenoch(from Texas with A&M and Tech offers).
2) Which position groups do you think are the most important to fill in this class? How has the staff addressed those needs?
MSU really needed to hit a home run in linebackers this year and it has with Jon Reschke and Shane Jones. I'm sure OSU fans or at least their QB's still have nightmares about Denicos Allen, Max Bullough and Chris Norman from last year. Norman graduates this year, Bullough and Allen are projected to go in the first three rounds if they chose to leave after this year. MSU has some young talent at the Linebacker position, but they really needed to and have hit a home run at Linebacker.
3) Are there any recruiting misses that have hurt?
I think the contrast of Hoke's wild success in Michigan coupled with his wild success recruiting the Offensive Line has probably hurt more than any individual miss. If MSU misses on Riley Norman that'll sting, he's rumored to have grown up a State fan and we always need Offensive Tackles.
4) Which 2013 committed prospect are you the most excited about?
I'd have to say Damion Terry. MSU is doing what every successful pro-style offense does in that they say to themselves, "You know, that Kirk Cousins was great, but what if he could run? Then we would WIN ALL OF THE THINGS!!!!". Terry can run, he shows nice touch on long balls and great zip on short throws. He seems to have enough ability as a quarterback to make me think MSU could have someone who can throw who won't fall into the "Mobile QB Trap".
5) How many more spots are left in this class for Michigan State? Who are the top targets left on the board to fill them?
MSU needs to replace around 14 spots for the 2013 class, we probably lose a couple of schollies with late 2012 signings Taybor Pepper, Jamare Mills and DeAnthony Arnett. We'll pick up a couple with attrition (Gholston will not be playing for MSU on opening day 2013, just a hunch). So I'd say 14 or so. MSU needs to recruit a couple more Offensive Line, one wide receiver, a couple of DL and a couple secondary and a kicker.
As far as who is most likely to fill those spots, I think that'll become a bit more apparent after summer camps.
6) A lot has been made of Hoke's success in Ohio. Do you think he has made a dent in Dantonio's success of grabbing recruits from the Buckeye State?
Well, I've talked about this above, but as long as it's not too repetitive I'll talk about it briefly here. I don't think he's made a dent in grabbing kids from Ohio for MSU. In 2012, MSU took 7 of 19 from Ohio and in 2010 that number was 6 of 20. I don't believe he's negatively affected the quality of kids MSU is bringing in either. MSU is not going to beat out OSU for an Ohio kid who has an offer from both. UM was able to do that prior to RichRod, all Hoke's done is reestablish that ability to some degree or another. I think UM and OSU are competing for that same elite recruit set in Ohio. MSU is after the solid, but not elite prospects.
7) Besides Jalyn Powell and Shane Jones, are there in any other Ohio prospects you expect MSU to land?
I think MSU will land a commitment from Ohio prospect Darian Hicks in the coming months, but that's all that seems likely right now. I suspect MSU will take a late-season gamble or two on a kid from Ohio. Hey, we can always dig around for the next Le'Veon Bell, right?
Thanks again to Jim for his analysis. For more information on Michigan State football and recruiting, check out www.shawlanespartans.com or follow them on Twitter at @ShawLaneSpartan