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5-star G Justin Rogers finally lands Spartans offer
Justin Rogers knew an offer would come. He had visited Michigan State about 20 times and knew it would only be a matter of time.
On Saturday, that moment finally came. The Oak Park (Mich.) sophomore guard, a 5-star prospect in the 247Sports composite ratings, headed to Michigan State with 4-star QB teammate Dwan Mathis to see the Spartans season opener against Bowling Green.
In the second half, as Michigan State pulled away for a 35-10 win, quarterbacks coach Brad Salem took Rogers onto the field. As the game was going on, Rogers spoke to Spartans coach Mark Dantonio, who offered him a scholarship.
I am blessed and honored to receive an offer from Michigan state University✅❇️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/mzL4OOozfv
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) September 2, 2017
“I was proud because this offer meant a whole lot to me,” Rogers said. “I’d been waiting on this offer for a long time.”
It sounds odd for a sophomore to say he had been waiting on an offer, but it fits here. Only Kentucky, the first team to offer Rogers, has been recruiting him as long as Michigan State. The Wildcats already have a commitment from his teammate, 4-star guard Marquan McCall.
For a player who puts a premium on relationships with coaches, this puts both schools in a great spot. Rogers took his first visit of the season to Michigan State, and he will head to Kentucky on Saturday. His latest Spartans visit confirmed what he said about the program in October 2016.
“It still feels like home,” Rogers said. “It’s the coaching staff. I’ve got a good bond with the coaches.”
Rogers said he has spoken with Mathis about the possibility of playing together in college. Michigan State, Iowa State, Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Toledo have offered both.
Ohio State also is in the mix. The Buckeyes began showing interest in Rogers after a camp at Grand Valley State, then offered when he camped in Columbus in late July.
“I went down there to one of their camps, balled out and then came back for another camp, balled out again and got the offer six days later,” Rogers said.
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound standout will likely visit Michigan as well. The Wolverines have not offered but have shown considerable interest. One of Rogers’ former teammate, Ja’Raymond Hall, plays there.
Rogers has plenty of options and plenty of time to earn more. He’ll look for a school with strong academics and a strong relationship not only between him and the coaching staff, but between his family and the staff.
Rogers is balancing school and recruiting with the start of his second season of varsity football. Oak Park finished 7-4 in 2016 and bowed out in the second round of the playoffs. He feels his squad is primed to be even better this season.
“We’re playing as a team this year,” he said of the 1-1 Knights. “We’re communicating much better. Everything’s going well. We’ve just got to stick together and play as a team, and that’s how we’re playing right now.”
Active Saturday at Spartan Stadium
Rogers and Mathis were joined by a host of talented young recruits at the Bowling Green game. One name to note is Marcus Fuqua, a 3-star Southfield (Mich.) safety with a Syracuse offer.
— Marcus Fuqua 🏴 (@marcusfuq16) September 2, 2017
Fuqua is one of several top 2019 defensive back prospects in Michigan. Julian Barnett, a 4-star wide receiver-turned-cornerback from Belleville, has a Michigan State offer and continues to strongly consider the Spartans.
Barnett put out a cryptic tweet on Saturday suggesting he was in East Lansing watching the game.
Guess where I am 🙂
— Julian Barnett (@_OfficialJB1) September 2, 2017
Others were more clear about their visits. Madison Norris, a 3-star defensive end from Indiana, shared several pictures from his trip, including one with former Spartans basketball star Denzel Valentine, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls.
Unlike most of the uncommitted prospects on campus, Norris is a high school senior. He holds Big Ten offers from Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Rutgers.
Great day visiting MSU pic.twitter.com/xgqBjkkDe9
— Madison Norris (@Madisonnorris98) September 2, 2017
Michigan State has been looking for a defensive lineman to add to its 2018 class, though most of its remaining targets are tackles. Whether the Spartans’ interest turns into an offer remains to be seen.
Big basketball recruiting weekend coming up
Michigan State was supposed to get both of its top two in-state 2019 basketball targets — 4-star combo guard Mark “Rocket” Watts and 4-star wing Romeo Weems — on campus for visits on Saturday. Only Weems showed up.
Things will heat up for Spartans hoops recruiting from here. Not only does Weems plan to return this Saturday for the Western Michigan game, but Watts intends to join him. It’s a great sign for coach Tom Izzo and his staff that Watts and Weems, who have both been offered by Michigan, will visit East Lansing rather than Michigan Stadium for the Wolverines’ home opener against Cincinnati.
The headliner will be Aaron Henry, a 3-star Ben Davis (Indianapolis) senior wing who plans to take his official visit. Henry’s coach, Mark James, said the 6-5 prospect is choosing between Michigan State, Butler, Ohio State and Xavier. He plans to officially visit the Buckeyes the following weekend.
“We’re not going to mess around with this,” James said. “He’s going to get this done pretty quickly, I think. I’d be surprised if it goes until the end of September.”
Michigan State has four players committed to its 2018 class, all in-state prospects: Marcus Bingham Jr., Gabe Brown, Thomas Kithier and Foster Loyer.