Luke Srodulski/Land of 10
La'Darius Jefferson won his fair share of accolades in high school. He might be similarly celebrated at Michigan State.

Michigan State recruiting mailbag: Breaking down National Signing Day, Spartans’ new class

Have Michigan State recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Thursday for the Land of 10 Michigan State recruiting mailbag to discuss Spartans recruiting. Send your questions via Twitter and Facebook, or email us at lucas.srodulski@coxinc.com.


National Signing Day has come and gone without too much drama. But that doesn’t mean this is the last you’ve heard of the 2018 recruiting class. Michigan State might not even be done adding to it.

You brought your questions about recruits who have signed with the Spartans and one who hasn’t. Here’s our best shot at answering them.

What’s the deal with Mallory?

Dashaun Mallory of Bolingbrook (Ill.) High was the lone defensive lineman expected to announce a college choice on Wednesday whom Michigan State fans thought the Spartans had a legitimate shot to sign. The thing is, he didn’t sign a national letter of intent. Not with Michigan State, and not with any other program. But remember, recruits don’t need to fill out a letter of intent on Signing Day to play college football. They can sign later. Heck, they don’t even have to sign at all.

In the case of Mallory, a 3-star defensive tackle in the 247Sports composite ratings, he wants to sign. He just needs to qualify academically. To do that, he’s studying for a test on March 10. If he gets the score he needs, he almost certainly will join the Class of 2018. It never has been an issue as to whether he wants to play at Michigan State. No one seems to want it more.

How do you see Jefferson fitting in on offense next season?

Where will La’Darius Jefferson fit in? It’s tough to say since the player from Muskegon (Mich.) High can do so many things, but I am fairly confident he will fit in. There’s a place for him in that offense, so I doubt he will redshirt. He played quarterback at Muskegon, but Michigan State recruited him as an athlete.

Jefferson, who rated as a 3-star athlete, will start off at tailback, a position that would have been more open for him to break in if not for LJ Scott’s return. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he has the ideal size and strength Michigan State looks for at the position. But as he was an incredibly productive quarterback in high school, maybe we’ll see him behind center in some unique formations.

Who’s the most impactful player who has signed with Michigan State?

I like Xavier Henderson. He was the first player to commit to Michigan State’s 2018 class 14 months ago, and he never wavered. He’s such a versatile player, having starred at safety, cornerback, running back and wide receiver while also showcasing his explosiveness in the return game. He comes to the Spartans as a 4-star athlete, ranked as the No. 14 athlete on the 247Sports composite.

Look for him to be a safety at Michigan State, and a sure-tackling one at that. Michigan State has tremendous depth in the secondary, but even so, Henderson will be right there competing for playing time as a freshman. He’s too good not to.

With this new recruiting class, what’s the chance of beating Ohio State and Notre Dame this year?

OK, we’ve got a few things to unpack here. First off, Michigan State doesn’t play Notre Dame in 2018, and the two likely won’t meet until 2026. The Spartans do play Ohio State on Nov. 10, and that game will be at home this time around.

If Michigan State beats Ohio State this year, I doubt it will be because of this recruiting class. Ohio State got itself a heck of a class as well. The Spartans relied on a lot of freshmen last season, but now that they’re returning the vast majority of their production, they have the freedom to redshirt as many as they please. This class will have a heavy impact. I’m just not sure it will come for a couple of years.