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One top prospect out, another one in.
Four-star South Florida commit Bruce Judson Jr., whom Michigan State has recruited as a running back, apparently won’t be making his official visit to MSU for the weekend of its Nov. 19 game against Ohio State.
Not taking nomore Official visits❌ Focused on winning a state championship and school rite now ❗️
— Bruce Judson Jr™ (@4way_lilbruce) November 10, 2016
Judson, a former Ohio State commit, had told Land of 10 about his interest and his hopes of seeing a great atmosphere at that game. Michigan State wants him to be a big-play threat for them who can break off long runs.
That looks a lot less likely now, as Judson has opted to focus his attention on school and his 8-1 Cocoa (Fla.) team. It’s ranked No. 5 in the state, and its only loss came to national powerhouse Bishop Gorman in September. The Tigers have a great shot at winning a state title, and he wants to make sure that happens.
A source told Land of 10 that he thought Judson would probably stay at South Florida and didn’t like the Spartans’ chances of flipping him. Should he not get on campus for an official visit, then it certainly won’t happen.
In happier news for Michigan State fans, a different 4-star prospect will be taking a visit. It will be for the Rutgers game, and it’s unofficial, but Massillon (Ohio) Washington offensive tackle Thayer Munford will be in East Lansing.
— Thayer Munford6️⃣4️⃣ (@Big_Grizze62) November 10, 2016
Munford, rated the No. 30 offensive tackle prospect in the 2017 class, has Alabama, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Tennessee among those going hard after him.
This visit comes as somewhat of a surprise, as Munford does not hold an offer and has not shown much public interest in the Spartans. They may be trying to make a late push.
Trent chooses Duke
Things didn’t go Michigan State’s way on Thursday as 5-star guard Gary Trent Jr. of Prolific Prep (Calif.) committed to Duke during an ESPNU “Basketball Signing Day Special” show. He chose the Blue Devils over the MSU and UCLA.
So what does that mean for the Spartans? Well, they can’t complain too much. On Wednesday, they signed a 5-star prospect (Jaren Jackson Jr.) and 4-star prospect (Xavier Tillman). The big man needs have largely been filled.
But Michigan State still would really like a creator on the wing. Trent offers a scoring ability maybe unparalleled in this class. He averaged 22.1 points in 2015 and 22.9 in 2016 on the toughest AAU circuit, the Nike EYBL. He can hit from outside, pull up, back you down or finish strong at the rim.
That would’ve been nice for a group that will soon be without senior Eron Harris. Now, if the focus hadn’t already shifted, it will go toward 5-star wing Brian Bowen, a senior at La Lumiere (Ind.) School.
No program has a better relationship with the native of Saginaw, Mich. He has been going on visits for years, and the staff has impressed the importance of family to them. The pitch has been to stay home.
Bowen ranks No. 17 in the country and is also considering Arizona, Creighton, N.C. State and Texas. How does he differ from Trent? For one, he’s got a little more size, which combined with his athleticism makes him an impact player on the boards.
Bowen doesn’t have the range that Trent has. He’s more of a slasher. With a guy like Bowen on your team, you want to clear out and give him space to try to get to the rim or find shooters on the wings.
Then there’s Nojel Eastern, a 4-star Evanston (Ill.) guard. He doesn’t score like either Bowen or Trent, but he runs the show like a point guard and never gets rattled. He and Bowen played for the same AAU team, Meanstreets.
Eastern has great size at 6-foot-6 and plays the game like the point-forwards at Michigan State that have come and gone. It would make sense for the No. 69 player in the country to end up in East Lansing for that reason in particular, but Ohio State and Seton Hall are among those also making a run at him.
Michigan State needs at least one of those guys. This class revolves around the big men, but without an impact player on the wing, there could be a big reversal from a guard-oriented team to a post-oriented team, especially if Miles Bridges heads to the NBA. A commitment from Bowen brings balance.
That decision likely won’t come for at least a few more weeks, but the Spartans find themselves in great position to keep him at home.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.