On the banks of the Red Cedar, recruiting never stops. We’re here every step of the way to keep you informed with our daily notebook. Recruiting questions? Comment below or direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
Impact of Madre London’s transfer
Michigan State football has depth almost all the way down its roster, from wide receiver to the offensive and defensive lines to the secondary. But running back is an exception.
The Spartans got great news after the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28 when LJ Scott announced he would return for his senior year. It bolstered a position that would have had an incredible lack of experience. But on Friday, a little more than a month later, Scott’s backup Madre London announced he would be leaving Michigan State.
It puts the Spartans in a precarious position. Outside of Scott’s 531 carries at Michigan State, the only other running back on the roster with college experience is Connor Heyward. He had 3 carries in 2017 as a true freshman. Behind him are Weston Bridges, who redshirted last season, and signees Elijah Collins and La’Darius Jefferson.
On one hand, London’s departure may rid Michigan State of the “hot hand” strategy employed by the coaches. There’s really no choice but to ride Scott as far as he can run. But if the senior-to-be gets injured, then the Spartans could be in a world of trouble.
This also puts extra importance on Michigan State’s recruiting efforts in the 2019 class. Typically, the Spartans have had five or more scholarship running backs on the roster. This season, they’re set to have just four. And once Scott departs, they’ll be even thinner. It remains to be seen how many prospects they will take at the position, but to get back to five on the roster, they will need to land two.
So who are the prospects? One stands out above the rest: Detroit Cass Tech junior Jaren Mangham, a 4-star athlete in the 247Sports composite ratings. Michigan State set itself up nicely by landing his teammate and friend, cornerback Kalon Gervin, who signed in December. Mangham last visited for the Spartans’ men’s basketball game against Michigan.
“I talked with coach [Mark Dantonio] and the whole offensive staff, and they just let me know that they really want me at MSU,” Mangham told Land of 10. “It’s always nice to be wanted and feel the love. Some schools think they can wait until the last minute to show recruits love, but MSU has been there since Day 1.”
Beyond Mangham, the future looks far less clearer. Michigan State has offered and pursued several running backs from the Washington D.C. area, including 3-star Oakton (Va.) standout Jordan Houston. But none have taken visits yet.
There’s plenty of time, as National Signing Day passed just two days ago, but London’s departure served as yet another reminder of the youth movement at Michigan State. Recruiting someone with the potential to make an early impact has become even more important.
Unofficial scholarship tracker
In the wake of Signing Day and a new departure from the program, it’s time to check in our scholarship tracker.
The numbers are based on those who either arrived at Michigan State on scholarship or walked on and were later granted one. The numbers come out to a total of 87 scholarships for the 2018 season, two more than the NCAA allows. And the possibility remains of another signing in the spring.
|Fr. (Total: 33)||So. (21)||Jr. (16)||Sr. (17)|
|QB (Total: 3)||Theo Day, Rocky Lombardi||Brian Lewerke|
|RB/FB (6)||Weston Bridges, Elijah Collins, La’Darius Jefferson||Connor Heyward||Collin Lucas, LJ Scott|
|WR (9)||Ja’Vez Alexander, C.J. Hayes, Julian Major, Jalen Nailor||Cam Chambers, Laress Nelson, Cody White||Darrell Stewart||Felton Davis|
|TE (6)||Jack Camper, Trenton Gillison||Noah Davis, Matt Dotson||Chase Gianacakos, Matt Sokol|
|OL (14)||Matt Carrick, Dimitri Douglas, Jacob Isaia, Mustafa Khaleefah, James Ohonba||Matt Allen, AJ Arcuri, Luke Campbell, Kevin Jarvis, Jordan Reid||Cole Chewins, Tyler Higby, Noah Listermann||David Beedle|
|DL (15)||Parks Gissinger, Jacob Slade, Zach Slade, DeAri Todd||Mufi Hill-Hunt, Naquan Jones, Jacub Panasiuk, Brandon Randle||Justice Alexander, Mike Panasiuk, Kyonta Stallworth, Kenny Willekes, Raequan Williams||Dillon Alexander, Gerald Owens|
|LB (10)||Jeslord Boateng, Noah Harvey, Chase Kline, Darien Tipps-Clemons, Edward Warinner||Antjuan Simmons||Joe Bachie, Tyriq Thompson||Byron Bullough, Andrew Dowell|
|DB (20)||Shakur Brown, Michael Dowell, Emmanuel Flowers, Kalon Gervin, Xavier Henderson, Chris Jackson, Davion Williams||Austin Andrews, Dominique Long, Tre Person, Josiah Scott||Josh Butler, David Dowell, Justin Layne||T.J. Harrell, Grayson Miller, Matt Morrissey, Tyson Smith, Jalen Watts-Jackson, Khari Willis|
|Special Teams (4)||Cole Hahn (K)||Matt Coghlin (K)||Collin Caflisch (LS)||Jake Hartbarger (P)|
This leaves open the possibility of more departures before next season. To get to 85 takes additional transfers or players who had previously been on scholarship to go off it. Keep your eyes peeled.
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