Months of recruiting don’t go much better than December did for Michigan State.
All 20 players who verbally committed to Michigan State signed during the new early period. Two 2019 targets committed in four days. And the positive impact of a Holiday Bowl win on recruiting remains to be seen.
Before we move ahead to January, let’s take a look back at this past month and how Michigan State did in regards to our to-do list from the start of December.
3. Keep pushing for in-state prospects
Michigan State did this and more. Not only did the Spartans recruit in-state targets hard, but they landed commitments from two of them. First was La’Darius Jefferson, a Muskegon (Mich.) senior who de-committed from Central Florida upon receiving a Michigan State offer. A 3-star prospect in the 247Sports composite ratings and a prolific high school player, he visited, committed and signed in December.
The second was more unexpected. On Dec. 22, 4-star Belleville (Mich.) junior Julian Barnett committed to Michigan State. At No. 59 in the nation, he’s an elite 2019 prospect who could play wide receiver or cornerback — or both. Landing Barnett, the No. 2 junior in the state, could be a step toward reeling in his teammate and the top-ranked junior, 5-star offensive tackle Devontae Dobbs.
2. Finish out the 2018 class
Didn’t happen. Michigan State finished the month with 20 players in the class, but coach Mark Dantonio said he still plans to pursue a couple more. It was never particularly realistic that the Spartans would be done with the class by this point. We’ve only had the early signing period. The regular period doesn’t begin until Feb. 7. There’s plenty of time.
Plenty of Michigan State targets never looked ready to commit before the early period anyway. Defensive lineman Jamarcus Chatman and wide receiver Jalen Nailor haven’t yet visited. Defensive lineman Jackson Cravens and wide receiver Tommy Bush have more official visits to take. These are guys worth waiting for. Not leaving any spots open for prospects signing in the regular period would be downright irresponsible.
1. Sign all commits
Mission accomplished. The letters of intent started coming in right at 7:30 a.m. and stopped just more than three hours later. That quick, painless process resulted in Michigan State signing all 20 players who had given verbal pledges. That included four 4-star prospects in quarterback Theo Day, tight end Trenton Gillison and defensive backs Kalon Gervin and Xavier Henderson. The class currently ranks 26th in the nation and fifth in the Big Ten.
Signing all 20 commits allows the coaching staff to focus more on trying to land the final few pieces rather than trying to ward off opposing programs attempting to snatch their commits. The early signing period might have sped up the process a bit too much for some players’ liking, but it’s certainly worked out for most coaches. Whether that justifies it is for the individual to decide.