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 email@example.com, and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
Connections abound between Michigan State and the members of its 2018 recruiting class.
Sometimes you have to look closer to find them. Linebacker signee Edward Warinner‘s father Ed (now a Minnesota assistant) roomed with Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio for a brief period in the ’80s, and Warinner’s mother attended the university. Defensive end signee Parks Gissinger‘s father Andrew blocked for Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner at Syracuse.
Some are a little easier to find, like how offensive line signee Jacob Isaia‘s grandfather, Bob Apisa, starred for Michigan State on its 1965 and 1966 national championship teams. And the most obvious are when brothers sign, an occurrence becoming more and more common with the Spartans.
This season, Michigan State fielded four sets of brothers: Brian and Matt Allen, Andrew and David Dowell, Jacub and Mike Panasiuk and Matt and Mitchell Sokol. Next year there will be a trio of Dowell brothers with the arrival of defensive back Michael, and the Slade twins, defensive linemen Jacob and Zach, will join the Spartans as well.
“I think that is an affirmation,” Dantonio said of the trend. “When you send one of your children to a particular institution or school, then you follow with somebody else, then you follow it again, I think there is affirmation that their sons are being treated consistently and fairly. They’re either playing or they’re not playing — that’s on them — but they have opportunities. They’re in a good situation. They’re around good people.”
There was never much doubt as to where Michael Dowell would end up playing football. The St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) standout kept putting out subtle hints about his intentions that didn’t seem to fool anyone.
"A Spartans Greatest Strength is the Warrior Standing Next to Him". I've been blessed to stand next to some amazing people during this whole process! Thank you for everyone that has helped me get to where I am today! You are appreciated ! Officially a Spartan! pic.twitter.com/eSt5d0SDo0
— Michael J Dowell (@mike_mikeyd123) December 20, 2017
Michael (a 3-star prospect in the 247Sports composite ratings) committed on May 29 and eventually signed. There weren’t nearly as many twists and turns in his recruitment as with his brothers, who committed to and de-committed from both Northwestern and Kentucky. Deciding to stick together always seemed to be easier than deciding where to do so.
“It’s definitely awesome,” David Dowell said of playing with Andrew. “You always get that warm, good feeling when you’re around family, and that’s something that I get to experience every single day when I’m in college. A lot of people are away from their families and may be kind of isolated, so it’s definitely good to have somebody that’s been with me my entire life.”
The same seemed to be the case with the Slades. Every offer received by one was also received by the other. Following a camp at Michigan State in June, Jacob landed an offer first. It took another day before Zach got his, but once he did, the Olentangy (Lewis Center, Ohio) standouts committed within days.
— Zachary (@zach_slade43) December 10, 2017
“We got the opportunity at Michigan State and took it right away because it was the school we wanted to go to,” Zach said. “It doesn’t matter if there’s any other offer. Michigan State was the school and the place we wanted to be.”
Time and time again, the Michigan State coaches stress a “family atmosphere” to their recruits. And it’s certainly a lot easier to build and maintain that culture with several actual family members on the roster. The Spartans have found success with talented brothers for years. Why stop now?
“When you have a brother who has played here, they know the ups and downs of the program, they know the positives, the negatives,” Dantonio said. “They do know the truth. They know what they’re getting into right from the start. There’s a sense of a little bit of this is what it is, this is where you’re going, this is the work you have to do. It’s pretty laid out for them. I think that’s a positive. There are no surprises.”
Miss any of The Green Room? Check out our archive here.