It won’t be easy to top the recruiting success of December 2017, but Michigan State is going to try.
Monday brings a new year but the same old recruiting cycle. Just over a month remains before most of the remaining 2018 prospects sign with schools of their choice. Michigan State got most of its work done by the end of the early signing period, which went from Dec. 20-22, but the Spartans still have to put the finishing touches on this group.
Here’s what Michigan State needs to do on the recruiting trail between now and the end of the month.
3. Capitalize on Holiday Bowl win
For the final month of recruiting before National Signing Day, Michigan State can say what many other teams can’t: It won its bowl game. With a convincing victory over No. 18 Washington State, the Spartans will see a bump in the final rankings and have built a lot of excitement for 2018 and seasons to follow. It’s time to turn that into recruiting success.
Through Jan. 11, the Michigan State coaches can only contact recruits electronically, as the month starts with a dead period. But from the 12th through Feb. 3, the contact period allows the Spartans and others to visit prospects face-to-face. It’s a great time to use the postseason success and excitement for the future as a pitch to top targets.
2. Build on 2019 class
This doesn’t necessarily mean Michigan State has to land any new juniors to join its four-man class, which ranks 11th in the nation and third in the Big Ten. The Spartans already have had more early success than most would’ve expected. But now is the time, with 20 players already signed to the 2018 class, that the coaches can largely turn their focus to 2019 and beyond.
Three of the top 10 in-state players already have committed to Michigan State, all 4-star prospects: cornerback Julian Barnett, tackle Spencer Brown and quarterback Dwan Mathis. Six remain uncommitted. The Spartans’ recruiting success within state lines could be contagious, and if that momentum results in a commitment from 5-star Belleville (Mich.) tackle Devontae Dobbs or 4-star Detroit Cass Tech running back Jaren Mangham, they will be in great shape.
1. Round out the 2018 class
Another benefit of having 20 players signed by the end of the early period: Now Michigan State only has to worry about a select few 2018 recruits entering the final stretch of the cycle. The most likely number is two. It sure takes a lot of pressure off to focus only on remaining needs and not on commits being pursued by other programs.
What’s left? Most likely a defensive tackle and a wide receiver. Jamarcus Chatman, Jackson Cravens and Tennessee Pututau seem like legitimate possibilities for the former, and either Tommy Bush or Jalen Nailor would be a great pickup for the latter. If both spots get filled by the end of the month, it’ll be smooth sailing for Michigan State come Feb. 7 while other programs scramble.