On the banks of the Red Cedar, recruiting never stops. We’re here every step of the way to keep you moving along with it.
On Sept. 15, Tanya Powell-May felt ready for the process to be over.
Her son, 4-star forward Xavier Tillman, had been through a long recruiting process dating back to his first offers in 2014 and beyond. The Grand Rapids Christian (Mich.) senior and his mother could see the finish line.
“It’s been a long process,” Powell-May said then. “He’s been being recruited for a long time. He’s finally getting close to a decision. It’s really nice to all of us.”
Two weeks later, they can probably taste it. And so can fans. Tillman will announce his decision Friday at 12:50 p.m. EST during his school lunch break. He’ll choose among Purdue, Michigan State and Marquette. That’s the order in which he took his official visits, most recently checking out the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee last weekend.
— Tanya Powell-May (@tanyabball) September 25, 2016
Where will the 6-foot-8 tank of a big man go? Well, Powell-May told Land of 10 that Marquette has made Tillman a top priority and clearly expressed his importance, while Purdue has a history of developing talented post players.
Still, Michigan State has to feel great about its chances. Coach Tom Izzo and his staff have done so well over the years to land top local talent, and there’s a clear spot for Tillman, as 2017 forward commit Jaren Jackson Jr. plays more on the wing or the high post, while Tillman makes a living down low.
The camaraderie with current players (expressed in Rico Beard’s interview with Tillman on The Spartan Beat) and with potential players (Tillman and 4-star guard Nojel Eastern are friends) gives Michigan State a great chance to close the deal.
Make sure to “like” the Michigan State Land of 10 page on Facebook and tune in Friday for a live stream of Tillman’s announcement.
Bowen, Trent inch closer
It’s not just Tillman. Much of the 2017 basketball class finds itself nearing the end. The early signing period begins Nov. 9, and most players want to secure a spot with their future teams by then if they feel comfortable enough to make the call.
Brian Bowen, a 5-star La Lumiere (Ind.) wing and Jackson’s teammate, took another step forward by trimming his list. He’s down to Michigan State, Arizona, Creighton, North Carolina State, Texas and UCLA. Michigan is out.
— Brian Bowen (@20tugs) September 29, 2016
MLive’s Brandon Quinn reported that now that Bowen has his list cut, he’ll look to schedule visits.
Speaking of visits, an advancement has been reported by Scout’s Evan Daniels in 5-star guard Gary Trent’s plans.
Trent has moved his official visit two weeks ahead to Oct. 13-15. That falls on homecoming weekend for the Spartans, who will face Northwestern in football and host a bevy of other visitors.
Duke appears to be the favorite for Trent, who plays a similar spot to fellow MSU target Eastern but packs more of a scoring punch. Still, the Spartans have to feel they’ve got a shot, and having him come on that weekend gives them a chance to impress.
Hamler set for surgery
Michigan State 4-star receiver target KJ Hamler tweeted that he will have surgery Thursday. The IMG Academy senior and Michigan native tore his ACL in the first game of the season.
— KJ Hamler (@Kj_hamler) September 29, 2016
Hamler is coming off an official visit to Michigan State over the weekend. He also has Arizona, Iowa State, Oregon and Penn State still under consideration.
“It’s always like home and always like family up there,” Hamler told 247Sports’ Sean Scherer. “It was a great time being at State like always.”
Michigan State’s continued recruitment of the electric athlete serves as another reminder of how the staff has continually stood by recruits following injuries. Linebacker commit Darien Clemons showed that when he shared a photo of a poster sent to him by the coaches reaffirming their commitment to him.
Oak Park (Mich.) freshman offensive lineman Justin Rogers had previously planned to visit Michigan State for its game against Wisconsin. Once Saturday rolled around, though, he tweeted a picture of himself at the Penn State vs. Michigan game in Ann Arbor.
Not a big deal. He’s a young guy who can change his plans. And he has now told Land of 10 that he will visit East Lansing for Michigan State’s next home game against BYU on Oct. 8.
The Spartans feel they have to get involved early with Rogers, who already holds an offer from Kentucky, and by making sure to get him on campus this season they’re doing that.
A big weekend awaits
And not just because Michigan State will look to rebound from last weekend’s loss with a visit to Indiana.
At the high school level, national No. 1 Bishop Gorman (Nev.) and No. 9 St. Thomas Aquinas will do battle at 10 p.m. ET Friday on ESPNU. Check it out to see Michigan State defensive end commit Lashawn Paulino-Bell, a senior for St. Thomas Aquinas.
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) September 29, 2016
If that wasn’t enough, we’ve got a hefty handful of other reasons to tune in. Michigan State is recruiting a long list of juniors on both teams, including 4-stars Al Blades Jr., Nik Bonitto, Elijah Moore, Asante Samuel Jr., Rocky Shelton and Dorian Thompson-Robinson, as well as 3-stars Jacob Isaia and Benjamin Sapp.
Yes, this game will be epic.
Also on Friday night, receiver commit Cody White and Walled Lake Western (Mich.) look to keep their undefeated record intact against a talented Mott squad. And in Ohio, tight end commit Matt Dotson’s Archbishop Moeller team takes on La Salle. Both are 3-2, but both are also ranked top 20 in the state. Ohio football shows no mercy.
And there’s more. At noon on Saturday, two of Detroit’s best will face off in Cass Tech and Martin Luther King. The Technicians boast Michigan State lineman commit Jordan Reid and top targets Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Kalon Gervin and DeAndre Square. King has 4-star cornerback target Ambry Thomas, from whom Michigan State hopes to get a visit soon, and a few others in whom the Spartans have shown interest.
This will serve as a nice preview to Saturday night’s game, and potentially a preview of some of those who will be wearing the Spartans uniform in a year or two.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.