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Michigan State dreams still alive for Dashaun Mallory
One by one, Michigan State announced its newest roster additions on Wednesday.
First was 3-star Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) wide receiver Jalen Nailor, the lone scholarship signee of the day. He brought the total to 21 following the haul secured during the early period in December.
Then came three walk-ons: two-way lineman Dan VanOpstall, athlete David Kruse and punter William Przystup, all of whom Michigan State confirmed will not be on scholarship.
But where was the defensive lineman? Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio had been very clear after the early signing period that he still wanted to add to that group, which does include defensive end Parks Gissinger and Ohio twins Jacob and Zach Slade.
A few hours west, Dashaun Mallory was studying hard. Qualifying for admission has been the greatest test for the Bolingbrook (Ill.) defensive tackle, a 3-star prospect in the 247Sports composite ratings. It held him back from taking an official visit until Jan. 12-14. It kept him from committing afterward. And it kept him from signing with Michigan State on Wednesday, as he has long wanted to do.
“I’m signing, just not now,” Mallory explained to Land of 10. “They want a new test score. I’m studying now and preparing for it, and my test date is March 10. Just another obstacle I’m facing, which I’ll prove once again that I can overcome it.”
Michigan State saw a pair of defensive line targets commit elsewhere in 3-star DE Habakkuk Baldonado (Pittsburgh) and 3-star DT Tennessee Pututau (Utah). It left some fans wondering whether the Spartans would even find a recruit to fill that spot.
Mallory remains confident he will be that guy. Ranking 62nd nationally among 2018 defensive tackles, the 6-foot-3 standout has kept his head down in recent days, focusing to ensure that he gets the test score he needs.
“You’ll see me in green and white soon enough,” he said.
Mark Dantonio talks Jalen Nailor
While we focus on the guy who didn’t sign, let’s not disregard the scholarship recruit who did make things official: the aforementioned Nailor.
Dantonio didn’t hold a news conference to discuss his latest additions with the media, but he did release a statement on his newest wide receiver, who committed on Saturday and will likely have a chance to play as a true freshman.
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) February 7, 2018
“Jalen comes from an outstanding high school program in Bishop Gorman that has a great coaching staff and has won multiple national championships,” Dantonio said. “He has the experience of being in a college-bound atmosphere, both athletically and academically, and has competed against some of the best football teams in the country. He has solid size, great hands, and can really run after the catch. He was an extremely productive offensive player.
“He can also return punts and kicks. The other thing that impressed me is that he’s a tough, physical defensive player as well.”
Nailor did it all in high school. As a senior, he had 41 catches for 807 yards and 12 touchdowns, as well as 18 tackles, 3 pass breakups and an interception on defense. He figures to fit in the slot or out wide at Michigan State, with the opportunity to contribute in the return game as well.