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Harold Joiner‘s looming official visit
Harold Joiner is a bit of a football unicorn. He stands 6-foot-3, weighs 221 pounds, runs about a 4.3-second 40-yard dash … and plays running back.
Michigan State has sought out big running backs under coach Mark Dantonio. Its trio of Gerald Holmes, Madre London and LJ Scott all stand 6-1. Holmes and Scott both weigh around 230 pounds. But few players have the ability to be as imposing at the position as Joiner, the No. 5 running back in the 2018 class per the 247Sports composite.
But can Michigan State land the 4-star Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.) senior? That remains to be seen. The chances don’t look particularly good after he took visits to Alabama and Clemson — both of which played in the last two national championship games — in the last two weeks.
But now the Spartans will have their shot. Some questions have arisen as to whether Joiner would take his official visit to Michigan State this weekend as he reportedly had planned over the summer. His coach said that still seems to be the plan.
“As far as I know, he is,” Mountain Brook coach Chris Yeager told Land of 10. “It’s my understanding that he is.”
It will be a massive opportunity for the Spartans to sway Joiner. Over the summer, he called Michigan State his top school, citing the wide-open depth chart. Should Scott leave for the NFL after this season, it would leave London as the only veteran running back, with current freshmen Weston Bridges and Connor Heyward behind him.
“I started to look at the depth charts,” Joiner told Land of 10’s Jeremy Birmingham at The Opening Finals, “and I looked at the linemen and stuff, and they have huge linemen, and they don’t have a lot of running backs right now.”
Joiner later said with a laugh that his only problem is the weather. On his visit, he’ll see a forecast high of 89 degrees Saturday in East Lansing when Michigan State takes on Notre Dame.
Michigan State certainly will keep pushing. On Wednesday during the bye week, running backs coach Dave Warner traveled to Mountain Brook to see Joiner, according to Yeager. The effort seemed to resonate with Joiner.
“Harold’s a relational guy,” Yeager said. “I think it’s one of the reasons he decided to come to Mountain Brook [as a sophomore]. The day he showed up, he just fit in.”
The Spartans will be hoping he finds that fit on his visit this weekend. A massive group of visitors will descend upon East Lansing on Saturday, but Joiner will be getting plenty of attention.
The Spartans’ search for a DT
Michigan State has landed three defensive linemen in its 2018 class: 3-star Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) DE Parks Gissinger, and Olentangy (Lewis Center, Ohio) twins Jacob and Zachary Slade.
But the pursuit has not wrapped up for this class. Over the weekend, the Spartans are expected to welcome a handful of defensive tackles to potentially fill a final spot.
Three-star Timpview (Provo, Utah) DT Jackson Cravens told Land of 10 about his plans to take an official visit. His cousin, Spartans TE/DE Mufi Hill-Hunt, had long been pushing for him to make the trip.
Along with Cravens, 247Sports reports that two other defensive tackles will take official visits to Michigan State this weekend. One is 3-star St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) standout Dejmi Dumervil Jean. The 6-4 1/2, 367-pound senior (a former teammate of Spartans DE Lashawn Paulino-Bell) is committed to Louisville.
Another 3-star prospect, Huffman (Birmingham, Ala.) DT Allen Love, is committed to Ole Miss but reportedly will visit MSU. He ranks as the 54th-best player at his position in the class.
The Spartans want a big body inside to wrap up this class on the defensive line, and they might just find him this weekend.
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