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.
Impact of Harlon Barnett’s departure
People often tell recruits not to commit to a coaching staff, but rather a program. It’s one of the oldest tidbits of advice to remind kids there’s no guarantee the coach who recruited them will still be around when they leave.
But when you think about it, how reasonable is it to ask that of recruits? You wouldn’t ignore the quality of professors when choosing a college. In the same way, players factor in which coaches they feel they will learn the most from and who will give them the best chance of reaching their ultimate goal: the NFL.
So it couldn’t have been easy for Michigan State’s players, especially the defensive backs and Ohio natives, to see co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett take the DC job at Florida State. Barnett, who helped develop unheralded recruits like Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes into NFL-level talents, earned the admiration of his players at Michigan State.
— Josiah Scott (@JosiahScott7) January 5, 2018
“Thankful for him taking a chance on me and believing in me,” cornerback Josiah Scott wrote on Twitter. Added safety Grayson Miller, “One of the best people I’ve ever been around, and someone who treated every single person, player, and coach with the utmost respect. Very proud to have played for you, coach!”
It’s an unfortunate position for recruits to be in, particularly those five defensive back commits who signed with the Spartans on Dec. 20. A national letter of intent is still binding even in the case of a coach’s departure.
There has been no indication that any of the signees want to depart as a result, but this does spotlight a problem with the early signing period. As 3-star cornerback signee Chris Jackson’s coach, Cedric Dickerson, wrote, those who sign early may lose their coach, and those who sign late may lose their spot on a roster.
Sign early & U may lose your coach, sign late & U may lose your scholarship
— Coach Ced Dickerson (@NewEraGrind) January 5, 2018
And what does it mean for the two commits recruited by Barnett to the Spartans’ 2019 class? Neither 4-star Belleville (Mich.) cornerback Julian Barnett nor 3-star Morgan County (Ga.) defensive back Jordan Huff comes from Harlon Barnett’s recruiting area, but both got to know the former Spartans coach during the recruiting process.
Both anticipated they would be coached by him in the Michigan State secondary. Now they will have to wait and see who comes next. Will either player step away from his commitment? Huff didn’t sound likely to do so.
“I’m a Spartan, man,” he told Land of 10.
Michigan State has responded to staff departures before, notably former defensive coordinator and current Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi. Coach Mark Dantonio is a defensive backs guru and should have no problem finding a capable replacement.
As for Harlon Barnett’s recruiting impact? He specializes in recruiting Ohio, particularly the Cincinnati area, from coaching under Dantonio at Cincinnati from 2004-06. Dantonio should be able to maintain relationships with high school coaches in the area.
Kalon Gervin at the Under Armour All-America Game
Michigan State had several players of interest at the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, most notably three recruits on the “Highlight” team: 4-star cornerback signee Kalon Gervin, 3-star offensive lineman signee Jacob Isaia and 4-star wide receiver target Tommy Bush.
Bush didn’t make any catches in the game, which was broadcast on ESPN2, but on the other side of the ball, Gervin found himself right in the middle of the action. He finished with 2 solo tackles and a pass breakup.
The tackles came as a result of falling victim to the speed of new Auburn commit Anthony Schwartz, who will be one of the fastest players in the NCAA. However, Gervin did make a nice play to break up a pass intended for another Auburn commit, Matthew Hill. Take a gander.
Gervin ranks 19th in the nation among cornerbacks in the 2018 class and is the highest-rated member of Michigan State’s class. He plans to enroll early at Michigan State in the coming days.
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