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.
Four offensive tackles have been taken first overall in NFL draft history.
Three have been taken since 1970: Orlando Pace, Jake Long and Eric Fisher. All three established themselves as left tackles. It’s the coveted spot on the line, the one reserved for the biggest talents in a league with almost exclusively right-handed quarterbacks. You can’t have just anyone protecting the quarterback’s blind side.
Spencer Brown wants that challenge. “Left tackles get paid a lot of money,” the 6-foot-6, 260-pound lineman explained to Landof10.com. Sure, hitting makes defense fun, but he likes the responsibility and potential reward of the most vaunted position on the offensive line.
Brown is a sophomore at Walled Lake Northern (Mich.), a crosstown rival of Michigan State commit Cody White and Walled Lake Western. Brown isn’t just familiar with White, but he’s drawn the attention of White’s future school as well.
“I’ve always been hearing a little bit from [Michigan State director of college advancement and performance] Curtis Blackwell,” Brown said. “I went to their camp a year ago. I’m going up there in a minute.”
Brown said he will visit East Lansing for the Spartans’ top-10 matchup with Wisconsin on Saturday. He’s on a list of class of 2019 visitors that includes Belleville (Mich.) standouts Devontae Dobbs (offensive line) and Julian Barnett (receiver), per Scout.
Even before he gets on campus, Brown’s high aspirations have him envisioning himself playing at that level. What he’s hearing from the Michigan State staff affirms that.
“They all just pretty much say like I have good potential, because I’m 6-foot-6, 260 pounds,” Brown said. “The sky’s the limit. I feel like I could play there at Michigan State. If I get the opportunity, I feel like I could play there.”
This weekend’s visit comes one week after Brown took a trip to another undefeated in-state school, Central Michigan. He left impressed with the way the Chippewas played in a win over UNLV and with their high graduation rate for players.
Brown hopes to pick up his first offer soon from Central Michigan. He’d be honored, but still, his sights are set a bit higher.
“I feel like if I put the work in and keep doing what I’m doing,” he said, “I feel like I can play on a Big Ten level. That’s my goal.
“I’ve still gotta get better.”
Adding to the list
Michigan State will be getting a big official visit this weekend from 4-star IMG Academy (Florida) receiver and Michigan native KJ Hamler, per Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. The 5-foot-9 speedster recently narrowed his list down to the Spartans, Arizona, Iowa State, Oregon and Penn State.
Another notable visit comes from 3-star Bishop Luers (Ind.) receiver Dashon Bussell. The 2018 prospect shared his plans on Twitter. He has reported offers from Miami (Ohio), Toledo and Western Michigan.
Fans can get excited about having Michigan State’s first 2018 commit in town as well. Four-star athlete Xavier Henderson’s father, Allen, told Landof10.com that Henderson will be at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.
Henderson’s father also confirmed a 247Sports report that two Pickerington Central (Ohio) teammates, 4-star tight end Trenton Gillison and 3-star defensive back Jeremiah Wood, will be there, too.
Gillison has reported an offer from the Spartans, while Wood is in the earlier stages of his recruitment.
On this visit, Michigan State will face Wisconsin, which recently offered Henderson. He is still fielding calls from other schools to be respectful, but his father said his commitment is solid and he has no plans to visit other schools.
Since Michigan State’s game kicks off at noon, Henderson will likely come to East Lansing on Friday after his game against Upper Arlington, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
A useful recruiting tool
The La Lumiere School (Ind.), which has one of the premier prep school basketball programs in the nation, held its fall combine Wednesday with coaches from over 40 colleges in attendance.
Michigan State, according to the school, was one of those represented. Five-star 2017 forward Brian Bowen and 4-star 2019 guard Tyger Campbell are among the La Lumiere players the Spartans are pursuing. They’ve already landed a commitment from 5-star forward Jaren Jackson Jr.
And guess who was in attendance to help the cause? None other than former Michigan State star and 2016 Associated Press Player of the Year Denzel Valentine.
— LaLumiere Basketball (@LaLuBasketball) September 20, 2016
Not a bad person to have speaking to a group of players in which Michigan State is interested … unless you’re from one of the other 40-plus teams.
And on Tuesday, the Spartans staff was dispersed and active on the recruiting trail as well. It was represented in Indianapolis, where MSU was there to see 3-star 2018 forward Aaron Henry and 3-star 2018 guard Eric Hunter Jr., per their coaches.
Additionally, Michigan State assistant coach Dwayne Stephens made a trip to Evanston Township (Ill.) to see 4-star Nojel Eastern, per 247Sports’ Andrew Slater. Eastern’s coach told Landof10.com that the Spartans were planning to visit. Eastern will return the favor by taking his official visit to East Lansing this weekend.
Coach Tom Izzo made the grueling 1-mile trip from campus to East Lansing High School to see 4-star forward Brandon Johns, the state’s No. 1 player. Michigan State has been pursuing Johns for quite some time, as you’d expect, and it doesn’t seem it’s about to let up.
— Steve Finamore (@CoachFinamore) September 20, 2016
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.