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It’s Michigan week, so it seems about time to devote a notebook to the recruiting dynamic between the Spartans and Wolverines.
Michigan State has been hot on the football recruiting trail lately, while Michigan has been dominating basketball recruiting. Let’s take a closer look.
Michigan State-Michigan visitors
Michigan State and Michigan won’t likely battle it out for any remaining 2018 prospects. The Spartans inched closer to finishing up their class with commitments from 4-star offensive lineman James Ohonba, 3-star offensive lineman Jacob Isaia and 3-star running back Elijah Collins last weekend.
The only player left who might consider both would be Kalon Gervin, a 4-star Detroit Cass Tech cornerback. Michigan State continues to pursue him, but as of right now, Michigan appears to have cooled on the No. 3 player in Michigan per the 247Sports composite.
It’s in the 2019 class where these two programs will be battling it out. The uber-talented in-state class includes one 5-star prospect and seven 4-star prospects. Two (4-star QB Dwan Mathis and 4-star OT Spencer Brown) have already committed to Michigan State. Three others (5-star OT Devontae Dobbs, 4-star OT Logan Brown and 4-star DT Mazi Smith) hold offers from both.
And many of the top 2019 prospects in Michigan will likely be at the game Saturday. Why wouldn’t they? It will easily be the hottest ticket in the state and one of the biggest games in the nation.
Before we get into who will be there, remember that whoever wins this game likely won’t have as big an effect on the recruits in attendance as you might think. The atmosphere and the facilities at Michigan Stadium could easily sway some prospects in the Wolverines’ favor even if the Spartans pull off an improbable win.
With that said, 247Sports’ Steve Lorenz has been hard at work confirming visitors for the game, and two names will stick out to Michigan State fans. First Lorenz reported on Monday that 4-star running back Jaren Mangham plans to be in attendance.
Mangham recently visited Michigan State for its game against Notre Dame, and all six 247Sports Crystal Ball picks on his page go in the Spartans’ favor. Mathis recently told Land of 10, “We’re for sure getting Jaren.” An offer from Michigan, which the 6-foot-1 bruising back doesn’t have yet, might change things.
On Wednesday, Lorenz reported that Dobbs will visit Michigan, as well. The nation’s No. 8 player and a junior out of Belleville (Mich.), Dobbs has been considered a Michigan State lean in recent weeks, too. Five 247Sports Crystal Ball picks went in the Spartans’ favor after he visited for the Notre Dame game.
Dobbs has just about every offer he could ask for, and that includes both in-state powers. Whether he’ll be joined by 4-star wide receiver/cornerback and teammate Julian Barnett, the second-ranked player in the state, remains to be seen. Barnett told Land of 10 that he has never rooted for Michigan and that he hasn’t been hearing from the Wolverines at all. Those words bode well for the Spartans.
A basketball recruiting battle
Both the Michigan State and Michigan men’s basketball programs anticipate heavy departures after the 2017-18 season and thus have put together large 2018 recruiting classes. Michigan State got off to the hotter start, landing its fifth commitment on Sept. 11 while the Wolverines had just three.
Since then, Michigan has caught up and, per the 247Sports composite rankings, passed the Spartans. Coach John Beilein’s team landed 4-star forward Ignas Brazdeikis on Sept. 22 and then another 4-star forward, Colin Castleton, less than two weeks later on Wednesday.
Committed ✅ pic.twitter.com/QidRLk9EJJ
— Colin Castleton (@Castleton_) October 4, 2017
Now both teams have five commitments. Michigan State ranks seventh in the nation and No. 3 in the Big Ten, while Michigan ranks third nationally and first in the Big Ten. If it finishes this way, it will be the second straight year the Wolverines have finished ahead, though a big reason why it happened in 2017 is because Michigan State only brought in two players. Michigan signed three.
Regardless, it’s a good sign for the competition within this rivalry for years to come. As it stands now, this would be the first class in which Michigan State and Michigan both finished in the top 10 since the rankings started in 1999. Of course, that could change as other schools land more recruits.
For the most part, the two schools didn’t battle it out for particular recruits. In the 2019 class, that will change. Both have offered 4-star Detroit Old Redford guard Mark “Rocket” Watts, 4-star New Haven (Mich.) wing Romeo Weems and 5-star University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr., the nation’s No. 1 recruit who visited Michigan State during the weekend.
Both Watts and Weems have been trending toward Michigan State, while Carey has far too many offers to even tell at this point. Many think he will stay home and play for his father’s alma mater, Miami (Fla.), but it’s far too early to tell.
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