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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
Where will Michigan State turn for a defensive end in the 2018 class?
It’s a precarious spot for several reasons. First, it’s a thin position on the Spartans roster after the dismissal of potential starter Auston Robertson following charges of criminal sexual conduct. They’ll also lose rising senior Demetrius Cooper, who has had his share of legal problems as well, following the 2017 season.
And in the 2017 recruiting class, Michigan State didn’t finish as well as it would’ve hoped. Coach Mark Dantonio and his staff had expected to sign 3-star DE Donovan Winter before the 3-star prospect (per the 247Sports composite) was arrested and charged with burglary and larceny of a firearm just before National Signing Day.
That brings us to 2018, a class in which the Spartans had to feel good about their chances of landing their top target, 4-star Fairfield (Ohio) junior defensive end Malik Vann. Vann, a teammate of incoming Michigan State freshman Josiah Scott, eventually made a surprise commitment to Cincinnati.
No defensive end has stood out since as a favorite to end up at Michigan State, but there are a few potential candidates, such as Allatoona (Acworth, Ga.) prospect Royce Francis, who spoke highly of the Spartans after picking up an offer.
But could another offer come soon to a player, like Vann, who has played with a 2017 Michigan State signee? Last Wednesday, the Spartans checked in at Westerville (Ohio) South, the home of future safety Dominique Long. However, he’s not the only player on their radar.
Junior defensive end Antonio Smith camped at Michigan State over the summer and will likely do so again. The Spartans’ interest in him has remained.
“They seem very interested in him,” Westerville South assistant coach Eric Calland said. “They really want to get him to camp. He’s got Kent State and Toledo right now, but I think it’s just a matter of time before a big school offers, and I think there’ll be a domino effect.”
Smith has also listed offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo, Eastern Kentucky and Youngstown State, but he’s still waiting for his Power 5 breakthrough.
Spartans target back on market
It took less than a month for Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (Melbourne, Fla.) 3-star running back Jashaun Corbin to decide he needed more time for his college decision.
Corbin committed to Tennessee on April 21 then reopened his recruitment on Tuesday. With more than 30 offers on the table, he has a lot to consider.
— Jay_1K 6⃣™ (@Jashaun06) May 16, 2017
“He said Tennessee did nothing wrong in the recruiting process,” Holy Trinity coach Nate Hooks said when asked if he had any insight into the decision.
Michigan State, it seems, will now have a good shot to try to get Corbin on campus for a visit. The Spartans offered on May 6 and are one of four schools to offer after Corbin’s commitment. Hooks said any schools will be taken into consideration.
“He didn’t indicate any schools specifically,” Hooks said of Corbin, “but he did say he’s open to everyone.”
Who’s next at outside linebacker?
On Tuesday, 4-star Toledo (Ohio) St. John’s Jesuit outside linebacker Dallas Gant made the unsurprising announcement that he has committed to Ohio State. Michigan State was one of the standout junior’s finalists. Now what?
The Spartans had to have seen this coming, and they’ve put other plans in place. Several talented prospects hold Michigan State offers and also hold MSU in high esteem. Let’s run through the most likely players in the 2018 class to end up playing outside linebacker for the Spartans.
3. Torey Zanders, unrated, George Walton Academy (Monroe, Ga.)
Several unrated prospects could fill this spot, such as recently offered St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) prospect D’Andre Ragin. Michigan State has offered a few players with few to no other Power 5 offers. Zanders is one of them, and he hopes to get up to Michigan State for a visit over the summer.
2. Jeslord Boateng, 3 stars, Dublin (Ohio) Coffman
Boateng, after receiving an offer earlier in the month, could soon jump to No. 1 on this list. However, he still needs to visit Michigan State. Until then, it will be unclear whether the Spartans are truly the favorite.
1. Jaylan Franklin, 3 stars, Oscar A. Carlson (Gibraltar, Mich.)
He did call Northwestern his favorite to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong after a visit in April, but Michigan State shouldn’t be counted out. He has built a long-standing relationship with the staff, visited more than five times and was shocked that an offer even came from the in-state school.