Who will be gained? Who will be lost?
A lot of uncertainty surrounds Michigan State’s 2017 recruiting efforts after the 2-4 start to the season. Fans question whether the current group of commits will stay intact and whether the Spartans can add the players they covet.
So, let’s get into it. Here’s what the Michigan State faithful want to know about recruiting.
What are Michigan State’s chances of landing Ambry Thomas?
Thomas, of course, is a 4-star cornerback from Detroit’s Martin Luther King Jr. High. He has a huge list of offers to choose from, but not surprisingly, Michigan and Michigan State seem to stick out.
The Spartans have been prioritizing Thomas, who told Land of 10 that he’s been hearing mainly from Mark Dantonio. When a team’s head coach is your main recruiter, that says a lot about your standing with the team.
Michigan State holds a pretty solid lead. Thomas didn’t get a chance to play with cousin Jaylen Kelly-Powell in high school because Kelly-Powell is at Cass Tech. Thomas said they’d like to play together in college. That doesn’t bode well for the Spartans because Kelly-Powell is a clear Wolverines lean.
Thomas holds the Spartans in high regard and has a good relationship with the staff. For that reason, it wouldn’t be surprising if he ended up at Michigan State. But I still favor Michigan.
Is Rocky Lombardi having a good year in Iowa?
Absolutely. The Michigan State quarterback commit’s West Des Moines Valley team is undefeated, No. 1 in the state and defeated powerhouse Dowling, which had not lost in two years.
Above, you can see his performance in that big game. With the game tied late in the fourth quarter, Lombardi led Valley down the field. At the 2:37.39 mark, he put his team in scoring position with a huge gain on a keeper.
So, yes, it looks like things are going well for him. However, as noted in the Sparty Onlooker notebook on Monday, he was sidelined with an injury in the game last week. There is no indication when he will return.
Is Ringer helping to solidify some recruiting?
By that, I assume you mean Javon Ringer, the former Spartans star running back who rushed for 4,398 yards and 34 touchdowns in his career. He’s now a recruiting intern.
Ringer has made his presence felt in Illinois, where he apparently has been given a lot of recruiting responsibilities. Chicago-area lineman Nick Boehm, who spoke with Land of 10, is one player who has been in consistent contact with Ringer.
On Thursday, we saw a little bit of his impact. 4-star cornerback Jairus Brents, with whom Ringer has developed a good relationship, confirmed to Land of 10 that he picked up an offer from the Spartans.
Ringer is putting in the legwork to really help Michigan State. It helps to have an athlete of his caliber in a role somewhat low on the totem pole.
How about a top-shelf defensive tackle prospect?
If that’s what you’re looking for, the top prospect from Michigan State’s perspective would be Deron Irving-Bey.
The 4-star Flint (Mich.) Southwestern senior is considering Michigan State, Michigan, Maryland, Syracuse and Tennessee. MSU, Michigan and Tennessee have the edge.
Michigan recently has increased its pursuit of Irving-Bey, but he still holds Michigan State in high regard. As someone who didn’t have an offer until after his junior year, Irving-Bey doesn’t take anything for granted. The Spartans’ struggles haven’t hurt his interest much.
MSU has a great shot to land Irving-Bey. Tennessee poses a threat, but Michigan serves as the biggest.
Is MSU in danger of losing any top recruits because of our rough start?
One would think so. Players want to go to a program that’s winning now, and this season could be concerning.
Linebacker commit Darien Clemons told me he has discussed with coaches how Michigan State always has responded to adversity under Dantonio. The Spartans don’t let one poor season turn into another. That’s surely what they’re trying to emphasize to the class as a whole.
Cornerback Josiah Scott said he picked up interest from Penn State and turned it down. Defensive end Lashawn Paulino-Bell picked up an offer from Nebraska and told 247Sports’ Sean Scherer that he plans on taking outside visits.
That’s a little concerning, but here’s what Paulino-Bell tweeted when asked whether he’s still solid in his commitment.
— Lashawn D. Paulino (@Legendary__8) October 18, 2016