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. Any recruiting questions? Direct them to email@example.com and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
Michigan State’s recruitment of teammates Addison Batton and DJ Bowles started in the Avon (Ind.) High weight room, where Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner stepped in over the offseason to visit them.
Not a bad place to get a look at a pair of impressive offensive linemen. Batton stands at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, while Bowles is about 6-2, 290. Both project as interior linemen at the next level. Both are just sophomores.
Avon saw its season end Nov. 4 in a 47-40 shootout against Ben Davis in the second round of the Indiana state playoffs, wrapping up a 6-5 campaign. With these two leading the youth movement, things should only get better for the Orioles.
“We were hoping for better,” Batton told Land of 10, “but what we got, we showed a lot of promise for next year being a young team.”
If there is a silver lining for the duo, having the following weekend off freed the two of them up to visit Michigan State for its game against Rutgers last Saturday. Traveling with family, they arrived Friday night and got up early Saturday for the pregame goings-on.
— Addison Batton (@Abatt65) November 12, 2016
Batton and Bowles tried on Michigan State jerseys, had breakfast and spoke with Warner and a few other recruits from the area he recruits. Then they saw the 49-0 onslaught from the Spartans.
“The visit was great,” Bowles said. “I loved the campus and stadium. Above all else, I loved watching the Spartans run all over Rutgers.”
Neither Batton nor Bowles have any offers, as it’s so early in the recruiting process. But both have picked up big-time interest. Duke, Iowa, Ohio State and Virginia have shown interest in Batton, while Bowles has heard from Iowa, Louisville and Michigan about taking future visits.
Loving East Lansing?✅ pic.twitter.com/ERPrytS2AN
— DJ Bowles (@DJbowles54) November 12, 2016
They have both visited Indiana and Miami (Ohio) in recent weeks and will be at Purdue for Saturday’s game against No. 7 Wisconsin. The MSU visit, though, certainly left a lasting impression.
“It was great,” Batton said. “The atmosphere was amazing, just the fans, the school. The campus is beautiful. And with the rich program history, it would be a great school.”
That phrase came up often to Batton: “rich program history.” That’s a big part of his college search. Michigan State can argue that it has that, so don’t be surprised to see him and Bowles back on campus in the future.
“(That was) probably one of the best college football games I’ve watched in person,” Bowles said. “Michigan State is somewhere I’d love to visit again.”
Eastern to announce decision
It’s been a long road for Nojel Eastern.
The 4-star Evanston (Ill.) combo guard has been on college coaches’ radars since his middle school days. Now a 6-6 senior star, he plans to share his long-awaited college decision Wednesday afternoon.
College Decision: tomorrow @ 345 Evanston Township High school??????
— Nojel Eastern (@NEblessed_20) November 15, 2016
Eastern took official visits to DePaul, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Seton Hall, and he is expected to decide among those five. MSU has long been considered a favorite.
The top two wing prospects on Michigan State’s radar are Eastern and 5-star La Lumiere (Ind.) forward Brian Bowen. With Eastern, the Spartans would get more of a floor general, someone with a commitment to setting up others who has the uncanny ability to make his teammates better just by his presence.
Because of his selflessness, Eastern hasn’t drawn a lot of public attention despite his No. 69 national ranking. Still, coaches nationwide know exactly who he is. This would be a great pickup for a Spartans program that has developed plenty of top prospects with forward size and point-guard skills.
What’s going on at linebacker?
Right now, Michigan State’s lone linebacker commitment comes from 3-star Darien Clemons, but the Spartans’ efforts to add someone to help on the outside have been no secret.
On Saturday night, 3-star Clairton (Pa.) Thomas Jefferson OLB Zane Zandier pledged to Virginia, taking one recent MSU offer off the market.
Who remains? Three-stars Nick Smith and Tyree Johnson have picked up offers in recent weeks, but they’ll need to be flipped from N.C. State or Texas A&M commitments, respectively. Three-star Alabama native Thomas Johnston has placed Michigan State in his top seven since being offered, but it will be tough to snatch him from the grasp of the SEC.
One of the likeliest possibilities looks to be Jaquan Henderson, a 3-star Tennessee OLB commit. He took a Michigan State official visit to the Michigan game, and though his recent Nebraska official visit might have changed things, he told The Spartan Beat’s Rico Beard he would be deciding between MSU and Tennessee.
In focus: Michigan State commitment highlights
You don’t have to be done with 2016 to look forward to 2017. Check out some highlights from these senior Spartans commits.
1. Get used to seeing Maine South (Ill.) offensive guard Kevin Jarvis putting defenders on the ground.
2. Normally out wide, Walled Lake (Mich.) Western receiver Cody White takes the snap and breaks off a long touchdown run.
3. IMG Academy (Fla.) defensive end Jack Camper uses the speed that he’ll showcase at tight end once he gets to East Lansing.
4. Bishop Moore Catholic (Fla.) defensive end Donovan Winter, on the contrary, will likely stay on defense and keep making plays like this.
Love playing this game with my brothers second round coming up??? also wishing MSU luck for this week against Ohio state go green✳️? pic.twitter.com/0QXn8kHurd
— Donovan Winter (@drockvrp22) November 14, 2016
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.