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.
Standout DE kicks off official visit
Just when Michigan State loses an athletic edge rusher, another arrives on campus.
On Friday, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio announced that freshman defensive end Lashawn Paulino-Bell would transfer. Having arrived at Michigan State on the mend from a debilitating personal watercraft accident, Paulino-Bell did not play in 2017. He was then suspended for the Holiday Bowl and not even allowed to travel.
Paulino-Bell’s departure comes shortly after former defensive ends coach Mark Snyder left to take the same position at Florida State. Snyder recruited Paulino-Bell out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and coached him during his short tenure with the Spartans, making his decision to transfer not entirely surprising.
The news came right in the middle of Habakkuk Baldonado‘s travel to Michigan State for his official visit. The Clearwater (Fla.) Academy International defensive end, who originally hails from Italy, and his mother plan to spend the weekend on campus.
Baldonado has come on late in the process, considering he arrived in Florida in July and has played for a school with an enrollment of approximately 250 students from kindergarten to 12th grade. But eventually schools found out about him, and he now holds offers from Central Florida, Cincinnati, Illinois, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, among others.
Michigan State has not yet offered, but the Spartans paid Baldonado two visits in the last week. First, offensive line coach Mark Staten met with him. And on Wednesday, assistant defensive backs coach Jesse Johnson checked in.
Michigan State has three defensive linemen signed to its 2018 class: 3-star Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) defensive end Parks Gissinger and 3-star Olentangy (Lewis Center, Ohio) twins Jacob and Zach Slade.
The Spartans hosted 3-star Bolingbrook (Ill.) defensive tackle Dashaun Mallory for an official visit last weekend, and after Baldonado takes his official visit, they plan to bring in 3-star Rome (Ga.) defensive end Jamarcus Chatman on Jan. 26.
New, promoted coaches talk recruiting
Michigan State announced new roles for two assistant coaches on Friday. Former co-defensive coordinator Mike Tressel took a promotion to become solo defensive coordinator while keeping his linebackers coach title. Former Kent State head coach Paul Haynes arrived on campus to take on his new role as defensive backs coach, filling the spot vacated by Harlon Barnett.
It doesn’t look like any of Tressel’s previous responsibilities will be assigned elsewhere. He will just have to take on more. And during the current contact period leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 7, his top priority is hitting the road.
“Acts of duty right now in January are recruiting, recruiting, recruiting, because players make plays,” he said. “That’s what we’re out doing and obviously trying get everybody on staff on the same page. The defense we run is what we run, so that’s not a problem. Right now, we’re looking for players.”
Haynes can’t do that yet. He said he needs to fill out paperwork and work with the compliance office before he can start recruiting, and he hopes to be doing so next week. Barnett focused heavily on Ohio and Georgia in his recruiting efforts, and Haynes feels he can fill that role nicely.
“I recruited Michigan for a number of years,” Haynes said. “And an area that they have attacked real well is Atlanta, and I recruited Atlanta for over 12 years, too. I think it’ll be a good fit for just sliding into those areas. A lot of the high school coaches I know in both areas very, very well. It should be a smooth transition.”
Haynes has been either a head coach or assistant in Ohio for 12 of the past 13 years, making him a natural fit. He and Dantonio have never worked together, but they have worked at several of the same places and both have a background in defensive backs. Naturally, Haynes had a glowing review of what the Spartans have accomplished under Dantonio.
“When you look at Michigan State, the one thing they have done a good job of here is recruiting the guys that fit into this program,” he said. “They may not necessarily be first in the Big Ten in recruiting, but they did a good job of getting the right kids in here and developing the kids to fit into the culture, and that’s where the wins have come from.”
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