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The search continues
Michigan State’s top 2018 defensive end target left the board Tuesday when 4-star Fairfield (Ohio) junior Malik Vann pledged to Cincinnati. So what’s next?
Vann’s decision will require a re-evaluation of the Spartans staff’s plans. Defensive end offers coming out of East Lansing have been scarce in the last month, but 1 player who picked up an offer on March 30 still looks like a possibility: John Waggoner.
— John Waggoner (@johnwaggs_12) March 31, 2017
The Dowling Catholic (West Des Moines, Iowa) junior, rated a 4-star prospect by the 247Sports composite, can go just about anywhere in the country. His growing offer list includes Florida, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and UCLA. Eleven of the 13 offers have come since the start of February.
“I think my coach kind of peppered my tape around at the right time, right as the 2017 class was signing,” Waggoner said. “As he sent that out, Michigan offered a couple days later and then everything started blowing up. And then recently, it started getting crazy again.”
Waggoner, who stands 6 feet 5 and weighs in at around 240 pounds, has impressed with his motor and mobility. LSU and Oregon have recruited him to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, while all others want him at defensive end.
With the activity in Waggoner’s recruitment, Michigan State will just hope to get him in for his first visit to East Lansing. He recently traveled east to visit Notre Dame and Ohio State, but he didn’t yet have an offer from the Spartans at that time.
“I talk to (Michigan State quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator) Brad Salem every so often,” he said, “and they want me to come up for a visit sometime and check it out. I’m still working on that.”
Asked what stands out about Michigan State, Waggoner brought up its history of great defensive lines. As a student of the game who cites Joey Bosa, Clay Matthews and J.J. Watt as influences, he should know.
He also has a bit of a Michigan State connection. Hailing from Dowling Catholic, the powerhouse program that produced former Michigan WR Amara Darboh, his main rival has been West Des Moines quarterback and Spartans 2017 signee Rocky Lombardi.
“They just like my motor,” Waggoner said of Michigan State. “[Salem] always jokes around and says that he needs another guy to come sack Rocky in practice that’s done it before.”
Waggoner said he’s looking for a good relationship with the staff, a family atmosphere and a place that feels like home before he makes a decision. He doesn’t currently have a timetable for his decision, as several offers have just recently come in.
Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Oregon and recently Penn State have been coming after Waggoner the hardest. Michigan State has ground to make up, and getting him in for a visit should help to put the Spartans in contention for when Waggoner does decide.
“It would be good to get it done before my senior football season,” he said of his college choice, “but if I’m not ready at that point, I’m not going to rush anything.”
More offers extended
One Vann out of the picture, another 1 in.
Michigan State offered 4-star Tucker (Ga.) WR Josh Vann on the same day it missed out on Malik Vann. Josh Vann, the No. 42 WR in Georgia, shared the news on Tuesday.
— Josh Vann (@Vannj03) April 19, 2017
The Spartans continue to heavily pursue the highly talented 2018 class in Georgia. It already has a commitment from CB Chris Jackson and hopes to add more. Vann, though, holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Michigan among others, and will be tough to snag.
Another wide receiver picked up an offer a day later, this 1 a 2019 prospect. St. Louis Cardinal Ritter sophomore Jameson Williams shared that the Spartans had offered him on Wednesday.
— juiceman ? (@juicedupjameson) April 19, 2017
Illinois, Kentucky and Syracuse are among those who have also offered the young standout.
MSU in top 10 for top CB
Jackson is committed, but Michigan State isn’t done at cornerback. It found success in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the 2017 class with commitments from Laress Nelson and Lashawn Paulino-Bell, and it hopes to keep it going with Marquis Williams.
The Cardinal Gibbons junior, rated a 3-star prospect, shared a top 10 list on Tuesday that includes the Spartans alongside Clemson, Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Penn State, Pitt, Wake Forest and Wisconsin.
— Marquis Williams (@Williamsisland2) April 19, 2017
The inclusion of Clemson should be concerning, especially considering how former teammate Trayvon Mullen plays there. However, Williams has told Land of 10, “I’m going to play Big Ten football.”
If his sights are set on the Big Ten, this may become a 4-team race based on the programs included in his list.