As we wrap up National Signing Day 2018 and the recruiting cycle as a whole, keep one thing in mind: Michigan State’s recruiting class is likely not finished.
The Spartans finished the early period in December with 20 signees. Coach Mark Dantonio held a news conference after inking those players and spoke of a top priority in the month-and-a-half to follow.
“We may take a couple more,” he said at the time. “They’ll be specific guys relative to a defensive lineman, probably. If you are out there listening, defensive lineman would be a great, great find right now. We look forward to putting that out there a little bit.”
As National Signing Day arrived on Wednesday, the Spartans did make one official addition. But it wasn’t a defensive lineman. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) wide receiver Jalen Nailor, a 3-star prospect in the 247Sports composite ratings, became the lone scholarship signee Wednesday, bringing the total to 21 in the class.
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) February 7, 2018
That spot for a final defensive lineman remains. Three-star Bolingbrook (Ill.) defensive tackle Dashaun Mallory looks like the primary candidate, but he needs to work on his test scores first in order to qualify.
As it stands now, Michigan State’s 2018 recruiting class ranks 31st nationally and sixth in the Big Ten, per the composite rankings. It possesses the third-highest average player rating of any Spartans class since Dantonio arrived in 2007.
Of course, Spartans fans will note that those numbers don’t necessarily equate to success. Statistically, Dantonio’s best class under came in 2016, ranking 17th nationally. Two years later, eight of the top 12 players in that class have either been dismissed or departed of their own volition.
The 2018 rankings do, however, indicate that Michigan State has maintained its recruiting prowess despite a 3-9 season in 2016 and the numerous issues off the field that have followed.
And if Mallory ultimately joins the group, those numbers could rise.
Where Michigan State’s 2018 recruiting class ranks nationally
Michigan State’s class ranks 31st nationally, just slightly ahead of Louisville. The Spartans’ average player rating eclipses that of two programs ranked ahead in total ranking (N.C. State and Ole Miss) and is lower than that of No. 38 Stanford, which can be attributed to class size.
Where Michigan State’s 2018 recruiting class ranks in the Big Ten
Michigan State’s class ranks sixth in a tight Big Ten race, just behind Maryland and ahead of Minnesota. As noted by Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue, the disparity in class score between No. 2 Penn State and No. 3 Michigan is wider than the gap between Michigan and No. 14 Northwestern.
I needed to triple-check the Big Ten class rankings because this blew my mind…
According to @247Sports composite class scores, the gap between No. 2 #PennState and No. 3 #Michigan (55.36 points) is greater than the margin between Michigan and No. 14 Northwestern (50.38). pic.twitter.com/aytxa0fXUf
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) February 7, 2018
Where Michigan State’s 2018 recruiting class ranks historically
These rankings are pulled from the 247Sports composite system, dating back to 2010.
|Year||No. of signees||National rank||Big Ten ranking||Average composite rating|
*ranking additionally impacted by commitment from 3-star linebacker transfer Drake Martinez