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.
Mariano Valenti is just a sophomore, but the Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) quarterback is already very familiar with Michigan State.
He took his first visit to Spartan Stadium back in eighth grade, and the relationship has grown stronger since. Going through his high school coach, Valenti has gotten to know quarterbacks coach Brad Salem quite well.
“We’re developing a strong relationship,” Valenti told Land of 10. “Coach Salem is great. He’s always really cool with me, and he’s one of those coaches that will tell you the way it is and be real with you.”
Valenti was back on campus for a third time Saturday for Michigan State’s game against Northwestern. As with the last two, he left happy with the experience.
“It was a good day,” he said. “I always have a good time going up there.”
Several other teams have jumped into the mix early as well. Valenti has earned offers from Central Michigan and Toledo. He also has plans to visit Notre Dame, which has been in contact, for its Nov. 19 game against Virginia Tech.
Right now, the main focus is getting back on the field for the playoffs. Valenti has not played since Sept. 24 because of a shoulder injury, but with one regular season remaining, he expects to be back just in time next week.
Valenti has played in five games this season and is 72-of-121 for 993 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. As a freshman, he played in two games and threw for 223 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
But Michigan State didn’t need to see any of that to show interest. Valenti has been hearing from the coaches there for two years now, and Saturday solidified what he had already thought of the Spartans.
“What stands out the most to me is definitely the coaches,” he said. “A couple hours before a big game, they walk over to me and take the time to talk with me. I already know that I’d love to play for them.”
Another linebacker offered by the Spartans
Michigan State offered 3-star Clairton (Pa.) outside linebacker Zane Zandier on Wednesday, he confirmed to Land of 10. WPIAL Insider initially reported the offer.
— WPIAL_Insider (@WPIAL_Insider) October 19, 2016
Zandier, who attends Thomas Jefferson High, is 6-foot-3 and weighs 205 pounds. This offer adds to a list that includes Cincinnati, Syracuse, Virginia and West Virginia.
“It was very exciting to receive the opportunity from the powerhouse of a program Michigan State is,” Zandier told Land of 10. “I’m really looking forward to visiting.”
That visit will happen when Michigan State hosts Michigan on Oct. 29.
Zandier becomes the third linebacker offered by the Spartans in the past 10 days, following 3-star Thomas Johnston and N.C. State commit Nick Smith.
Kentucky’s top prospect picks up offer
When 4-star cornerback Jairus Brents was heading out from his Michigan State visit on Oct. 8, the coaches told him to be patient with their recruitment of him.
He didn’t have to wait long, as he announced Thursday that the Spartans had extended an offer.
— Jairus Brents (@JiggaTheShow9) October 20, 2016
Brents, the No. 1 recruit in Kentucky, spoke to Land of 10 after his visit and said he enjoyed speaking with the coaching staff. He also holds offers from Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Wisconsin, among others.
On the prep scene
Coming down the stretch in the football season, top teams are meeting other top teams. Here are some games to watch.
Cass Tech (Mich.) vs. King, Friday: Detroit’s top teams will do battle once again, this time at Ford Field for the area championship. Five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and four-star prospects Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Ambry Thomas, Kalon Gervin and DeAndre Square will all be featured.
Rockford (Mich.) at Hudsonville, Friday: Rockford has reeled off six straight wins after a team-wide illness led to an 0-2 start. The Rams face Hudsonville (7-1), one of the best teams in Michigan. Rockford fields quarterback Jason Whittaker and cornerback Marcus Remtema, who have received Michigan State interest.
Pickerington (Ohio) Central at Reynoldsburg, Friday: Pickerington Central (8-1) fields Michigan State commit Xavier Henderson and prospects Trenton Gillison and Jeremiah Wood. The Tigers face a 6-2 Reynoldsburg team coming off of two straight wins.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.