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Jaylen Harris got the message loud and clear when Michigan State commits started a “#HarristoMSU” hashtag on Twitter in the hopes of drawing him to East Lansing.
“I know MSU’s got love for me,” Harris said.
The effort started right after the 4-star Cleveland Heights (Ohio) wide receiver left Michigan State’s campus following a Dec. 9-11 visit. It was his second official visit, following a trip to Penn State in October.
“I had a great time,” he told Land of 10 about his Michigan State visit. “My whole visit went great. My mom loved it, my auntie, we loved everything about it, everything they showed us.”
While on the visit, he spoke for a bit with Michigan State commits and fellow official visitors Josiah Scott and Mustafa Khaleefah as well as Spartans WR commit Cody White, who came in on Saturday.
For the most part, though, Harris spent his time with his host, Spartans freshman Justin Layne. Both hail from Cleveland and talk regularly. Layne was recruited as a wide receiver, but as a true freshman he found playing time at cornerback. Harris likes the opportunity of seeing the field early.
“(Layne) basically was telling me that (Michigan State) coach (Mark) Dantonio, he plays whoever’s ready to play, no matter if it’s a freshman or a senior,” said Harris, a 6-foot-5, 210-pounder. “If you’re ready to go, then you will be out there playing. That’s what I like to hear. And Justin, he’s got no reason to lie to me about it. That’s been my dude for years.”
That’s the same message he got from the staff. He stays in regular contact with co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel, the latter of whom has relayed a positive message about his potential.
“Coach Samuel was saying as long as I come in and put in the work, everything’ll go how I want it to go,” Harris said.
Who else is in contention?
Michigan State will have to overcome some tough competitors to land Harris. He plans to visit Ohio State on Jan. 20 and could potentially take visits to both Tennessee and Florida.
The Buckeyes, as the home state school, appear to be the favorite. Harris has felt the love for quite some time from the Buckeyes, who hopes he completes their wide receiver class.
“Ohio State picked it up harder when (fellow receivers) Tyjon (Lindsey) and Trevon (Grimes) committed,” he said. “After they committed, they got on me harder than ever. They’ve been recruiting me hard for a while.”
After a lull in recruiting him, Florida got back in contact over the past few weeks, and Harris said the Gators have “been on me ever since.” They’ve seemingly replaced Alabama in his top five from August.
He said he won’t be looking for anything in particular from Ohio State or Tennessee because he’s long known the coaching staff. As for Florida, something would just need to click for them to be in contention with the others.
“I’ve just got to get a good vibe,” he said of the place where he eventually commits, “and if it comes down to anything, they’ve got to be somewhere I can picture myself.”
When will he decide?
Harris said he doesn’t have any particular commitment plans. Once he feels some place is right, he’ll make the call. It could be Friday, or it could be National Signing Day on Feb. 1.
What would it mean to Michigan State — or any of the other contenders — to land Harris? His Cleveland Heights coach, Mac Stephens, offered his take on the lengthy wideout.
“I think they see the same thing I see, that there are some phenomenal receivers in the 2017 class,” Stephens said. “But the one thing Jaylen has on some of the guys who are supposedly ranked ahead of him is that he’s a legitimate 6-foot-5 and is probably still growing. He can catch a football at 11 feet in the air, so they see a guy that can be a true threat in the red zone.
“Plus, for a kid that’s 6-foot-5, he’s a legit 4.5 (40-yard dash) guy right now, and probably once he gets to a college strength and speed program, I imagine he’ll probably get even faster.”
Michigan State’s early enrollees have moved in. The aforementioned recruit Scott arrived on campus in the early afternoon.
What's up EL ? finally made it
— Josiah Scott (@JosiahScott7) January 5, 2017
Shortly thereafter, 4-star WR Hunter Rison made a proclamation. He didn’t have to drive far to get to East Lansing from Ann Arbor, but the atmosphere surrounding him probably feels far different from when he was in Wolverine country.
Officially a spartan. God is great.
— Hunter Rison (@hunterrison) January 5, 2017
Tight end Jack Camper wraps up the trio, to which Michigan State would be thrilled to add at least 20 more come signing day.