National Signing Day is a time for celebration, not second-guessing.
Recruits are realizing their dream of playing college football. Coaches are officially locking in commitments. “What if” isn’t on most fans’ minds. So let’s get that out of the way before Wednesday.
Michigan State had chances with a handful of talented recruits during the 2018 recruiting cycle before varying circumstances sent these recruits elsewhere. Down the road, these misses might hurt more than they do now. Here are the recruits who got away.
4-star Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar WR Joseph Scates — Committed to Iowa State
The lone de-commitment in the class, Joseph Scates chose Michigan State in January 2017 and stayed pledged for just over a month. When he spurned the Spartans, he effectively ended their chances with his teammate, 3-star running back Tavion Thomas, as well. Scates ultimately chose to play for Iowa State and Ohio native coach Matt Campbell.
3-star Timpview (Provo, Utah) DT Jackson Cravens — Committed to Utah
Jackson Cravens sure would’ve been a nice pickup for the defensive line, and Michigan State tried its best to use a familial connection to land him. When Cravens visited in late September, he was hosted by his cousin, Spartans defensive end Mufi Hill-Hunt. He chose to be patient and take all his visits, eventually deciding to stay home.
4-star Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.) RB Harold Joiner — Committed to Auburn
Landing Harold Joiner was always a long shot. Why would the nation’s No. 5 running back, who hails from Alabama, spurn the SEC to head north? But for a second, it looked like Michigan State had a shot, aided by its wide-open depth chart. Joiner even named the Spartans his leader at one point. But a tentative official visit fell through and he, too, stayed close to home.
3-star Detroit Cass Tech LB DeAndre Square — Signed with Kentucky
There was a time when DeAndre Square looked as close to a sure thing as anyone on Michigan State’s radar. The Spartans loved his leadership qualities and pursued him aggressively. But after Michigan State declined to extend recruiting guru Curtis Blackwell’s contract in the wake of an investigation into the program’s handling of sexual assault allegations, interest waned.
4-star Fairfield (Ohio) DE Malik Vann — Signed with Cincinnati
Everything was shaping up for Michigan State to make a splash. Malik Vann had visited several times and built a strong relationship with the coaches. His teammate, Josiah Scott, had already enrolled early at Michigan State. But when it came time for a decision, Vann picked Cincinnati, surprising Bearcats and Spartans fans alike. Michigan State has recovered well, but the program still would’ve liked to have a player like him.
The Wisconsin 5
For a good chunk of the 2018 recruiting cycle, no program had landed more commits from Michigan than Wisconsin. Safety Reggie Pearson Jr., offensive lineman Michael Furtney, linebacker Jaylan Franklin and wide receivers Taj Mustapha and A.J. Abbott all chose the Badgers before July. Michigan State offered the latter four and may have offered Pearson had he not committed so early in the process. None were devastating misses, but all were players the Spartans could have potentially kept in-state.