Michigan State recruiting mailbag: On Harold Joiner and the potential size of the Spartans’ 2018 class
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As the college football season begins and ushers in a fall full of official visits and commitments, so too does our Michigan State recruiting mailbag. We want to make this a weekly staple of our content, so please send as many questions as you’d like to the links above.
This week, we tackle questions on the freshmen we’ve seen only on the high school field and the highlight reels, and we assess Michigan State’s chances of landing one of its top running back targets.
Can you tell us a little more about Cody White and Hunter Rison? — Len Rancilio
We’ll consider this and the next question recruiting-related because all we have to go off of is high school tape for these freshmen. Both should see the field at wide receiver, not as starters but probably in the two-deep.
At 6-foot-3, Cody White has tremendous length and versatility. In high school he played at quarterback, running back, cornerback, safety, linebacker, punter, punt returner and kickoff returner as well as receiver. Just throw the ball up against a smaller defender and let him go get it. He will.
Hunter Rison is extremely quick off the line and gets downfield in a hurry. He’ll contribute early on as a backup to Darrell Stewart Jr. in the slot. As the son of Spartans great Andre Rison, you can bet he has a great knowledge of the game. Heck, he helped sophomore receiver Trishton Jackson transition to quarterback back in high school.
What freshman do you see making an impact this season? — Jacob Sevrey
Quite a few will. Coach Mark Dantonio listed about 10 players who will play as freshmen this year, but if you’re asking for just one, I’ll go with the only one who probably will start from the beginning of the season.
Cornerback Josiah Scott regularly gets compared by Dantonio to former Michigan State star cornerback Darqueze Dennard. But even Dennard didn’t start as a freshman. Scott most likely will. He’s a tough player with a quick change of direction who benefited from enrolling early. He’ll probably have a larger impact than any other freshman on the team this season, for better or worse, simply because he will play a lot of snaps.
Think we can land Harold Joiner? — Brad Laking
It’s tough to say at this point. Harold Joiner, if you didn’t know, is a 4-star Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.) running back. He stands 6-3 and has tremendous athleticism, with many schools wanting him to play a different position.
Joiner previously listed Michigan State as a favorite, not because he had gotten to know the staff well but because he likes the look of the depth chart. That likely hasn’t changed. He would get a chance to play immediately at Michigan State. But it comes down to his official visit — reportedly for the Sept. 23 game against Notre Dame — and whether he finds that connection with the campus and the program. I tend to think he goes somewhere down south. Alabama and LSU have been pushing hard.
What can you tell us about the Slade twins coming? — Marianne Cullen
The first thing you need to know about Jacob and Zachary Slade, the Olentangy (Lewis Center, Ohio) defensive linemen who committed to Michigan State over the summer, is their sense of loyalty. They picked up all the same offers and made it pretty clear they wanted to play together in college. Many recruits describe a “family atmosphere” upon visiting Michigan State, so this would seem like an ideal fit.
Both stand 6-foot-4, but at around 255 pounds, Jacob has more size. He could end up as a defensive tackle or even an offensive lineman. Zachary likely will be a defensive end. Both seem to be very coachable players from what was gathered at the elite camp where they earned their offers. Michigan State has had plenty of success with brothers. Don’t expect anything different here.
How many recruits do you think the Spartans will take? — Sean Vergowven
Dantonio said before the season that he and his staff will aim for 20 or 21 players in the 2018 class, which means adding five or six more to the current group of 15. There hasn’t been any indication or reason for a change.
Look for Michigan State to bring in two running backs and a defensive lineman. Those appear to be the top priorities, with running back the biggest need. After that, the final spots could be filled with any of the wide receivers, offensive linemen, linebackers or defensive backs the Spartans continue to contact.