The 2018 recruiting cycle has effectively come to an end.
High school seniors can sign their letters of intent until April 1, and even after that, programs can bring them in with no signing necessary. But after National Signing Day on Wednesday took almost every remaining Big Ten-caliber target off the board, it’s time to start turning the page to 2019.
Michigan State has one of the best in-state classes in recent memory coming up next. The Spartans already have landed commitments from the 247Sports composite system’s Nos. 3, 8 and 9 juniors in Michigan: cornerback Julian Barnett, quarterback Dwan Mathis and tackle Spencer Brown. All are 4-star recruits.
Coach Mark Dantonio and his staff also have ventured outside the state and found success with a pledge from 3-star Morgan County (Ga.) defensive back Jordan Huff. The class ranks 12th in the nation and third in the Big Ten.
Michigan State has high hopes it will get better. Commitments from one or two of the 2019 targets on this Michigan-dominated list could help take the class from good to great.
5-star Belleville (Mich.) tackle Devontae Dobbs
He’s the No. 1 tackle in the nation. He’s got offers from most of the top college programs. But Devontae Dobbs also lives right down the road and has Michigan State recruiting him as hard as anyone. The Spartans have a legitimate shot, especially since Barnett, his teammate, has been in his ear about making the same move and committing to Michigan State.
4-star Calabasas (Calif.) wide receiver Mycah Pittman
Mycah Pittman’s father played at Fresno State, his brother plays at USC and he lives just minutes away from UCLA. What’s more, Pittman has been offered by Michigan and Ohio State, among others. But the interest in Michigan State remains strong nonetheless. Wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel has impressed Pittman with his honesty, and a visit is the next step.
4-star East Kentwood (Mich.) defensive tackle Mazi Smith
Michigan State hasn’t been a consistent presence in Mazi Smith’s recruitment. He thought the interest had ceased before offensive line coach Mark Staten dropped by his school in December. If they make Smith a priority, the Spartans should have a shot. It also wouldn’t hurt if his cousin, former Michigan State star Todd “T.J.” Duckett, helped the Spartans in their efforts.
4-star Detroit Cass Tech running back Jaren Mangham
Jaren Mangham has put together a monstrous list of offers, and though it took Michigan State a little while to join that group, the Spartans have been in the mix since the beginning. They have brought in a Cass Tech product in each of the past three classes and would like to make it four straight. Mangham is a bully of a running back with a strong 6-foot-1 frame.
4-star Cardinal Ritter (St. Louis) wide receiver Jameson Williams
Since Jameson Williams picked up a Michigan State offer last spring, he has blown up on the recruiting trail. Still, the Spartans have a leg up on many because of his visit and his relationship with Samuel. The Spartans are on track to lose only one scholarship receiver after 2018 (Felton Davis), but they’d like to make a splash in replacing him.
4-star Belleview (Fla.) tackle Michael Tarquin
You won’t find many (any?) recruiting analysts predicting that Michael Tarquin will go to Michigan State, but it’s still a commitment the Spartans would love to have. His father attended Michigan State and has long been pushing the school as one he should consider. As a result, Tarquin has taken several visits to campus and loved each one.
3-star West Bloomfield (Mich.) linebacker Lance Dixon
No in-state recruits will be easy for Michigan State to reel in, and especially not Lance Dixon. Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin all followed the Spartans in offering the 6-foot-2 standout whose athleticism and versatility have made him a hot commodity. His parents are split between Michigan and Michigan State, so this could get interesting.
3-star Flint (Mich.) Carman-Ainsworth Michael Fletcher
Michael Fletcher holds Michigan and Wisconsin offers as well, but Michigan State has an apparent edge because of how early it got into his recruitment. Also a basketball star with a handful of offers, Fletcher is an intimidating athlete who looks every bit of the 6-foot-6 height at which he’s listed. He also has high hopes of majoring in engineering, which the Michigan State coaches have often encouraged.
3-star Chippewa Valley (Clinton Township, Mich.) linebacker Marcel Lewis
One of the most important parts of getting early in-state commitments is their ability to sway other local stars. That’s what Barnett, Brown and Mathis have been trying to do with Marcel Lewis. He also has a Michigan offer, but the Wolverines don’t have as many players trying to pull him their way. That could prove crucial for the Spartans in their quest for his commitment.
3-star Zeeland (Mich.) East defensive end Adam Berghorst
As if there weren’t enough in-state standouts whom Michigan and Michigan State are both going after, Adam Berghorst recently joined the list. Fortunately for the Spartans, he grew up attending their games and had a very productive talk with Dantonio about his future at defensive end when he landed the offer. At 6-foot-7, he has uncommon length even for a defensive end.