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Jaylan Franklin didn’t have any particular reason to think this visit would be any different.
He had started receiving interest from Michigan State early in his freshman year at Oscar A. Carlson High School (Gibraltar, Mich.) and taken more than 20 trips to campus since. The 3-star prospect in the class of 2018 would be hard-pressed to find a staff with which he has built a better relationship.
So this just seemed like another opportunity to keep building. He arrived Sunday on little sleep, having visited Pittsburgh the day before. But the early hints and messages had to have woken him.
“A couple coaches told me that they think there may be an offer, but they weren’t for sure,” Franklin told Land of 10. “They wanted to get me to sit down with (Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio). So we just relaxed, went to practice for a while, and then he pulled me aside a couple times.
“And right before practice ended, he pulled me aside and he just told me straight up, and it was overwhelming.”
— JF2 (@YoungJaylan_) February 26, 2017
That’s how Franklin received his 16th offer. The Spartans joined a strong group of programs including Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kentucky, Minnesota, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Vanderbilt, but this one held a special meaning.
Michigan State has long been Franklin’s favorite school. He said in November that he felt “somewhere close” to an offer, but actually receiving it evokes much stronger feelings than just thinking of the prospect.
“I’m still a little shocked,” he said. “They always told me since the start that it was going to be a while because I was still young, and they didn’t know what was going to happen and how I was going to progress.
“They just kept telling me, ‘Your film’s getting better. You’re looking better.’ Today just happened to be the day, and I’m glad it finally came.”
Franklin also got a little clarification about Michigan State’s plan for him. As a 6-foot-4 athlete, the possibilities look vast. He said most SEC schools like him at wide receiver or defensive back, while ACC schools lean toward outside linebacker or defensive end.
Michigan State and others from the Big Ten tend to lean in the same direction as the ACC. Dantonio told Franklin the Spartans see him as an outside linebacker who could transition to defensive end if he bulks up, which sounds good to him.
“I love defense, and I definitely want to get better at defense,” Franklin said. “I feel like I have a shot at being a really, really good player in college on defense, so I’m happy playing defense, but if they want me to play offense, I’ll do whatever.”
Michigan State is “still No. 1 on my list,” Franklin said, but he won’t rush into a decision. With the excitement of the past 24 hours, he doesn’t want to make an emotionally charged decision.
But the feeling of that moment won’t soon fade. Sunday evening marked a turning point in his recruitment, as Dantonio finally took the next step Franklin had been waiting on.
“He felt it was time,” Franklin said. “It’s been a long, long ride, and we’ve been working together for a long time. I literally know every single coach on the staff, and it just feels like after having waited so long, it feels like they had to get it done. So they finally decided to get it done.”
Not the only one
Michigan State had an active recruiting weekend with flocks of visitors coming in on both Saturday and Sunday to see spring practice.
Before it ended, the Spartans had landed their quarterback of the future with a commitment from Dearborn (Mich.) Divine Child standout Theo Day. They can feel confident that Day, an in-state prospect in whom the staff has long shown interest, will stay solid in his decision.
Beyond that big news, Dantonio and his staff also created waves by offering some of the top young talent in the state as well as intriguing national prospects. The following players can be added to the Michigan State offer list.
2020 Marietta (Ga.) quarterback Harrison Bailey
— Harrison Bailey (@HBailey_05) February 24, 2017
The 6-foot-4 freshman arrived on campus Friday and promptly picked up an offer, becoming the first 2020 QB to receive one from the Spartans. He also has offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, N.C. State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Syracuse, Tennessee and Texas A&M, so fans probably won’t want to get their hopes up yet.
2019 Belleville (Mich.) wide receiver Julian Barnett
— Julian Barnett (@_OfficialJB1) February 25, 2017
Like with most in-state prospects, Michigan State made sure to get to know Barnett very well before offering. The 6-foot-1 sophomore projects by most as a wide receiver, but his high school coach has said he thinks Barnett would be best at defensive back in college.
2018 Milan (Mich.) 3-star offensive tackle Michael Furtney
— Michael Furtney (@FurtneyMichael) February 26, 2017
After in-state tackle target Jalen Mayfield committed to Minnesota, the logical next step would be to offer another, so that’s what Michigan State did. Furtney has blown up with offers from the Spartans, Central Florida, Indiana, Iowa State, Nebraska, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Virginia this month.
2018 Xenia (Ohio) wide receiver Meechi Harris
Truly blessed to have received my 14th offer & 6th Big Ten offer to Michigan State University !!! B.B.B. ?? pic.twitter.com/ZRLxqt2OxX
— Meech1 (@king_dj_sosa14) February 26, 2017
The speedy junior wideout visited Michigan State over the weekend and left with an offer. In the past two weeks, Minnesota, Purdue, Rutgers and West Virginia have also offered. The Spartans have a WR commitment from 4-star prospect Joseph Scates but they plan to add another from the 2018 class.
2019 Detroit Cass Tech athlete Jaren Mangham
— Jaren Mangham (@MANG__MANG1) February 26, 2017
Who is Mangham? Just another top-tier talent to go through the ranks of Detroit powerhouse Cass Tech. He’s primarily a running back there, but he could end up at several different spots in college. Michigan has shown a lot of interest and may soon join in on the 4-star prospect (per 247Sports).
2019 East Kentwood (Grand Rapids, Mich.) defensive tackle Mazi Smith
Very excited to have recieved my 5th offer from Michigan State University. I look forward to biulding a strong relationship with the family.
— L@RGE•1 (@mazismith) February 27, 2017
Just a sophomore, Smith has already received offers from Michigan State, Wisconsin, Akron, Bowling Green and Central Michigan. The Spartans became the latest to jump into the race when Smith visited over the weekend.