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Penn State weekend likely to bring in several top Spartans targets
Michigan State has plenty of work to do if it wants to organize a recruiting weekend more successful than Sept. 22-24.
The Spartans picked up one commitment that Saturday from Dwan Mathis, a 4-star Oak Park (Mich.) junior quarterback, and two 2018 prospects pledged the following Friday. Four-star offensive lineman James Ohonba and 3-star running back Elijah Collins both came to their decisions after taking in the prime-time game against Notre Dame.
Clearly a win isn’t necessary to reel in recruits. They can be drawn to the campus, the game day atmosphere, the way the coaches interact with their players. And Michigan State will try to recreate that on Nov. 4 when it welcomes currently undefeated and second-ranked Penn State.
We won’t find out until afterward whether its impact will match that of the Notre Dame game, but it looks like there will be a chance. Several top targets already have official visits tentatively planned.
Four-star Winton Woods (Cincinnati) outside linebacker Christopher Oats told Land of 10 he intends to take an official visit to Michigan State that weekend. As with defensive back and 4-star Spartans target Kalon Gervin, linebacker isn’t a high priority, but Oats is a can’t-miss prospect.
Michigan State has already landed three linebackers in the 2018 class, all 3-star recruits from Ohio: Jeslord Boateng, Chase Kline and Edward Warinner. A fourth Ohioan at linebacker would make this quite a formidable group.
The Spartans have been on Oats longer than anyone, having offered him in January of his sophomore year. Cincinnati, though, has long been the favorite for the 6-foot-4 standout, who has length to play defensive end should he put on the weight. The 247Sports composite rankings list Oats as the No. 19 outside linebacker in his class and the 10th-best prospect in Ohio.
Defensive tackle has proven to be a higher priority, and 247Sports’ Sean Scherer reported that 3-star Huffman (Birmingham, Ala.) DT Allen Love plans to visit Michigan State for the Penn State weekend, as well. He had initially scheduled a visit for the Notre Dame game.
Love has been committed to Ole Miss since June. The coach to whom he committed, Hugh Freeze, was fired the following month and interest in the 6-3, 285-pound senior has not slowed down.
“He’s a prototypical defensive lineman, big kid, very athletic,” Huffman coach Alex Wilson said. “He’s got a high-level skill set.”
Michigan State has three defensive linemen committed to its 2018 class in Parks Gissinger and twins Jacob and Zach Slade. The Spartans have pursued Love, 3-star Timpview (Provo, Utah) DT Jackson Cravens and 3-star Bolingbrook (Ill) DT Dashaun Mallory, among others, to fill a fourth spot.
And maybe the most highly anticipated prospective visit comes from 4-star Samuel Clemens (Schertz, Texas) wide receiver Tommy Bush. The Spartans involved themselves in his recruitment early on and haven’t backed off, despite seeing his offer list swell to around 50 programs.
Though plans haven’t been solidified, Bush hopes to visit Michigan State for the Penn State game, as well. Distance has made setting up trips difficult, but he made an official visit to Nebraska work in the first weekend of October.
Bush, who stands 6-4, ranks as the No. 36 wide receiver in the nation. Michigan State has been looking for a wideout with size to become its third commitment at the position, and Bush is at the top of the list.
Mixed results in Under Armour All-America Game voting
The Under Armour All-America Game isn’t purely a popularity contest. After all, only the most talented players in the nation qualify for voting.
But it sure helps to have a mass of voters behind you. The first round recently wrapped up, and the two Michigan State commits in the first round saw very different results.
Three-star St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) defensive back Michael Dowell, younger brother of Spartans standouts Andrew and David Dowell, came up short against Oklahoma linebacker commit Brian Asamoah with 46 percent of the vote. He shared his thanks for the support shortly afterward.
The voting just ended, came up a bit short, but thank you to everyone who took time to go out and vote for me! I appreciate it! https://t.co/FEERvZ3uzj
— Michael (@mike_mikeyd123) October 17, 2017
Asamoah will now take on Michigan State linebacker commit Chase Kline of Chardon, Ohio. Kline narrowly defeated 4-star Notre Dame running back commit Markese Stepp in the first round by winning 53 percent of the vote.
Sixty-four players have already been named to the roster for the game, which ESPN2 will broadcast from Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 4, 2018. The list will eventually swell to 100 players.
Spartans commit lands big offer
Don’t expect a verbal commitment to keep other schools away. That’s just part of the game in football recruiting.
Four-star Walled Lake (Mich.) Western junior tackle Spencer Brown committed to the Spartans and didn’t take the decision lightly. He’ll still have plenty more decisions to make down the road, though, and an offer from Florida is an early example of that.
Blessed and honored to receive an offer from the university of F L O R I D A 🐊🍊🔵 pic.twitter.com/RrS6Uonjzs
— Spencer Brown5️⃣8️⃣ (@s_brown55) October 17, 2017
With more than a year remaining before he will be able to sign his letter of intent, Brown will likely receive other offers, as well. He ranks 34th among tackles in the 2019 class and has attracted nationwide attention.
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