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Spartans signees, commits earn USA Today all-state honors
More than a month after most high school teams’ seasons ended, individual honors continue rolling in.
On Wednesday, the USA Today All-USA state football teams were released. Michigan State didn’t have any players named to the All-America team, but plenty earned statewide honors.
In Michigan, Spartans pledges made up six of the 22 spots on the all-state first team, with signees Elijah Collins, Kalon Gervin, La’Darius Jefferson and Davion Williams making the cut along with 2019 commits Julian Barnett and Spencer Brown. Quarterback and offensive line signees Theo Day and Dimitri Douglas, respectively, earned second team honors.
Michigan State also dominated Ohio, with four signees selected for the first team: defensive backs Michael Dowell and Xavier Henderson, tight end Trenton Gillison and linebacker Chase Kline. Defensive lineman Jacob Slade was placed on the second team.
The 20 members of the 2018 class all signed during the early period, which began one week ago. The Spartans plan to sign “a couple” more prospects come February.
Position changes for 2018 signees?
As we’ve seen from Michigan State in past classes, the coaches won’t shy away from switching player positions if they see a better fit. One of the most impactful examples is Justin Layne, who came in as a receiver but now stars at cornerback.
The same very well could apply to the 2018 class down the road, and it’s much more likely on defense. On offense, most of the signees seem set at their current spots, though Douglas and Isaia, who will both start at center, eventually could move to guard.
At linebacker, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio sees Jeslord Boateng and Kline at the money spot, though Kline also could shift to the middle. And if he gets up to 250 pounds or so, Dantonio said, he could move to defensive end as well.
Of Michigan State’s five defensive backs, Gervin looks most likely to stay at one spot, that spot being cornerback. But co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett said Gervin could even play safety and highlighted the versatility of his 2018 class secondary.
“When you’ve got a corner and you’ve got the proper size, you could play safety because you’re skilled enough,” Barnett said. “They’re all really versatile in that way. They can run. They’re tough. They can tackle, and they’re intelligent football players.”
Dantonio said he sees Dowell starting off at safety, though if he gets bigger he could play outside linebacker like brother Andrew. Gervin, Chris Jackson and Williams all look like prospective cornerbacks. Henderson, possibly the most versatile player in the entire class, could end up anywhere.
Michigan State basketball signee stat tracker
Most of Michigan State’s 2018 men’s basketball recruiting class has had a chance to sit back this holiday season and not play any games. The most recent player to hit the floor was 4-star Ben Davis (Indianapolis) wing Aaron Henry, who led his team against Hamilton Heights Christian (Chattanooga, Tenn.) on Saturday.
Aaron Henry had 49 points tonight in the Manual Extravaganza. Unfortunately, the Giants lost to a very good Hamilton Heights Christian team from Tennessee, but Henry's 49 point total is second in school history to the 55 points by Vernon Evans 47 years ago in 1970.
— Ben Davis High School (@BenDavisHS) December 24, 2017
Ben Davis lost the game 78-75, but Henry had a career day. He scored 49 points in the game, ranking second in school history.
Henry is one of five players signed to play for Michigan State in the 2018 class. The group ranks 10th in the nation and second in the Big Ten, per the 247Sports composite.
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