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.
Taylor Currie found himself blown away by his first trip to Michigan State: “It was awesome.” He sat in the first row behind the bench at the Breslin Center on Friday next to East Lansing 4-star junior prospect Brandon Johns and got a good taste of the recruiting process and what’s to come.
The 3-star 2019 forward got what he asked for and more at his first Michigan State Madness.
“It was crazy,” Currie told Land of 10. “I didn’t honestly think that there would be that many people there, but it was awesome that there was. It was a great atmosphere.”
Currie’s Michigan State connection dates way back. For most of his younger years, he lived in Fort Wayne, Ind. His father worked with AT&T and managed communications at IPFW. Who was the men’s basketball coach for the Mastodons at the time? Dane Fife, who got to know Currie’s dad.
Eventually, Fife became a Michigan State assistant coach, and the Curries moved to Westerville, Ohio, about 10 miles north of the Ohio State campus. As a freshman at Worthington Christian, Taylor Currie drew interest from the Buckeyes and took multiple visits.
Currie’s father took a job in eastern Michigan just after the start of his son’s sophomore year. Currie enrolled at Clarkston High, which just happens to be Fife’s alma mater. The coach there is none other than Fife’s father, Dan, a legend at the school.
A couple of weeks in, new teammate Foster Loyer — a junior point guard who holds a Spartans offer — told him about Michigan State Madness. The MSU coaches said they wanted to meet him, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
Currie and Loyer both made the trip to East Lansing, where Currie spoke with some of the staff and hung out with Johns, whom he had never met before. He took in the sights and enjoyed what he saw from the Spartans in their scrimmage.
“I love the way they play,” he said. “They really get up and down. That’s something that we do a lot in AAU (for the All-Ohio Red), and that’s the way that I like to play the game. It looked like a lot of fun, the way they played on Friday night.”
Currie prides himself on his motor and intensity, saying coaches have said they like how he runs the floor. The 6-foot-9 sophomore, who’s likely to grow a bit more, said his effort on the glass makes up a big part of his game.
Asked whose game he tries to model his after, Currie brought up a recent Michigan State standout and NBA champion.
“Maybe Draymond Green a little bit,” he offered. “I love how hard and how mean and tough he plays.”
Currie named Ohio State and Michigan as two teams that have shown considerable interest. You can likely add Michigan State to that list now.
“I liked it a lot,” he said of the visit. “The coaches are very personable. It was a great place. The atmosphere was awesome.”
Evaluating a 5-star’s visit
Michigan State football got potentially its biggest visit of the year Saturday when 5-star WR Donovan Peoples-Jones came to Spartan Stadium to take in the game against Northwestern.
There, he got to see a host of 2017 Spartans commits: 4-star TE Matt Dotson, 3-star WR Cody White, 3-star DL Jacub Panasiuk, 3-star OG Matt Carrick, 3-star LB Darien Clemons, 3-star TE Jack Camper and Peoples-Jones’ Cass Tech teammate, 3-star OG Jordan Reid.
— Darien Clemons™ (@clemons_darien) October 16, 2016
“He’s cool,” Clemons said of Peoples-Jones to Land of 10. “We talked real shortly. He was asking me if I was committed and what happened to my knee. (Clemons tore his ACL in September.) He seems like a real cool dude, laid back, doesn’t seem like he has a big head at all. Just a cool guy. We didn’t talk very much, but we were around each other a bit.”
With the direction of the Spartans’ 2-4 season combined with the already high interest Peoples-Jones has received from Michigan, Florida and Ohio State, it seems like a long shot that they would be able to land him. A source suggested to Land of 10 that Peoples-Jones doesn’t have much interest in MSU compared to the other suitors.
MSU commit offered; MSU offers commit
If you’re not willing to be discourteous in recruiting, you won’t be successful.
Programs all over the nation send offers to recruits already committed to other schools. Michigan State got a taste of that Friday when No. 8 Nebraska offered Spartans defensive end commit Lashawn Paulino-Bell.
Blessed to receive a offer from the university of Nebraska #Cornhuskers
— Lashawn D. Paulino (@Legendary__8) October 14, 2016
It’s the first offer Paulino-Bell has reported since committing to the Spartans in June. The 3-star prospect from St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) is ranked the No. 37 weak-side defensive end in the nation.
Shortly afterward, Michigan State offered 3-star Dr. Phillips (Fla.) OLB Nick Smith, who committed to N.C. State in July.
— Nick Smith (@NSmith2017) October 14, 2016
Michigan State loses LBs Riley Bullough and Ed Davis after this season; both have been productive throughout their careers. The lone linebacker committed to the Spartans’ 2017 class is Clemons.
Position hot board: Quarterbacks
Welcome to a new daily feature of Sparty Onlooker. Each day, we’ll run down the top targets in a position group, listing them from least likely to most likely to sign with Michigan State.
Today, we look at the quarterbacks. Since the Spartans are already set in the 2017 class with 3-star Rocky Lombardi, who seems solid in his commitment, let’s look at 2018.
4. Artur Sitkowski, Old Bridge (N.J.)
Rating/Ranking: 4 stars/No. 4 pro-style QB
This seems a bit unlikely considering how interest in Sitkowski has blown up lately; Florida, Miami, Michigan and Ohio State have offered. However, he did say a Spartans offer would “shake things up,” even if it was before their recent skid.
3. Jason Whittaker, Rockford (Mich.)
Rating/Ranking: 3 stars/No. 24 pro-style QB
Whittaker hails from the Grand Rapids area on the western side of the state, which would give the Spartans a big advantage should they extend an offer. Whittaker holds several MAC offers.
2. Theo Day, Divine Child (Mich.)
Rating/Ranking: 3 stars/No. 18 pro-style QB
Day reportedly was set to visit Michigan State over the weekend but he did not respond to multiple interview requests for confirmation. He recently jumped to No. 184 in the Top247 rankings. He holds offers from Kentucky, Central Michigan and Toledo.
1. Kevin Doyle, Malvern Prep
Rating/Ranking: 3 stars/No. 13 pro-style QB
Doyle spoke highly of Michigan State prior to his September visit and told Land of 10 afterward that he enjoyed the trip. He said he wants to go to a winning program and/or one that has promise to win in the future. He has also been offered by Iowa, Nebraska and Pittsburgh, among others.
MSU commitment stat tracker
The season’s not going so well for Michigan State. How about for the players who will be coming in next season? Let’s take a look.
- Michigan State quarterback commit Rocky Lombardi did not play in a win for his West Des Moines Valley (Iowa) team, as he was sidelined with an injury.
- 3-star S Dominique Long caught five passes for 105 yards, including a game-winning 45-yard touchdown to lead Westerville South (Ohio) to its first win of the season.
- Paulino-Bell recorded four tackles and a quarterback hurry to help lead St. Thomas Aquinas over Fort Lauderdale 42-8.
- RB Weston Bridges ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns for Copley (Ohio), which came up short Friday in a 42-28 loss to Aurora.
- Reid, who anchors the Cass Tech offensive line, helped the Technicians offense put up 62 points in a shutout win.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.