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With the season winding down, chances for recruits to get on campus to see a football game are drawing slim.
Defensive end and outside linebacker have become particularly important areas of need, and Michigan State tried to address them on its official visitor list Saturday. Let’s check in on those efforts.
Antjuan Simmons, 4-star Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer outside linebacker
This was a bit of a surprise visit. The Ohio State outside linebacker commit took a visit over the weekend to the first school to recruit him, Michigan State. Land of 10 confirmed that it was an official visit.
— Josiah Scott © (@JosiahScott7) November 12, 2016
Simmons, who has a longstanding relationship with Michigan State director of college advancement and performance Curtis Blackwell, is second from right in the second photo above, posted by Spartans commit Josiah Scott.
Land of 10’s Jeremy Birmingham reports that the Ohio State coaching staff was less than thrilled to find out that Simmons had visited the Spartans without first alerting them.
Ohio State has been in heavy pursuit of 5-star outside linebacker Baron Browning, which may have an impact on Simmons’ decision-making. Still, it looks as though Simmons is set on the Buckeyes unless they decide to look elsewhere.
Tijaun Mason, 3-star Trezevant (Tenn.) defensive end
Mason, a Purdue commit, enjoyed his weekend trip to East Lansing, and he said spending time with the players and coaches stood out most.
Michigan ST , it's been fantastic but now it's time to focus on another state Title
# See you again ? pic.twitter.com/8V0Noc792J
— T1_40Cal (@TheMonster_40) November 13, 2016
He got to know running back LJ Scott and cornerback Austin Andrews, and he had dinner with coach Mark Dantonio. He didn’t, however, leave with an offer, something he prepared for mentally beforehand.
“I feel like I’m getting sold big dreams,” he told Land of 10.
Mason said the Spartans intend to visit him in December. At that point, they might consider an offer. But right now, the attention appears to be on recent defensive end offers such as Hunter Echols, Tyree Johnson and Kofi Wardlow.
Mason isn’t holding out hope for an offer. He’s committed and has been receiving heavy interest from Toledo and Rutgers as well. So he’ll have a landing spot regardless.
“It was fun while it lasted,” he said. “I know I don’t fit their program. Because if I did, they would’ve offered me before everybody.”
Jordan Wright, 3-star Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard defensive end
Wright, who initially planned to take a Michigan State official visit earlier in the year, rescheduled to take it for the weekend of the Rutgers game.
Official visit to Michigan State next week✳️#GoSpartans
— Jordan Wright (@JayyDubb15) November 1, 2016
However, the 6-foot-5 defensive end did not take the visit, per a source. He did not respond to a request for comment on why the visit did not take place.
Florida State and Kentucky appear to have a leg up in this race. The Seminoles have long been considered a favorite, but Wright has been photographed wearing Kentucky gloves and has to be intrigued by the walk-on spot offered to him on John Calipari’s basketball team.
Dillard defensive end Jordan Wright was wearing some Kentucky gloves tonight, for those who care about those type of things. pic.twitter.com/PpK2EDLuwl
— Andrew Ivins (@Andrew_Ivins) November 1, 2016
Elsewhere on the visitor list
One of the other big names on campus Saturday was 4-star Massillon (Ohio) Washington offensive tackle Thayer Munford. He holds a Michigan State offer and was flanked by high school teammates on his visit.
— Rebecca Moore (@beccamoorecw) November 12, 2016
Michigan State also got an early start with 2019 Pine-Richland (Pa.) linebacker Tyler King, who made the trip out. Just a sophomore, he has already picked up interest from North Carolina, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.
— WPIAL Sportsmen (@wpialsportsnews) November 12, 2016
And another name to keep an eye on is 2019 Archbishop Moeller (Ohio) offensive lineman Zach Carpenter, who took a visit Saturday. He’s a teammate of 4-star Spartans tight end commit Matt Dotson.
— Zach Carpenter (@CZach23) November 12, 2016
Carpenter has been starting for Moeller since he was a freshman, per Scout, and will have a chance at bursting onto the radar of some big-name programs.
Big-time 2018 DE to visit Michigan State
Four-star Fairfield (Ohio) defensive end Malik Vann shared Monday that he plans to visit Michigan State for the game Saturday against Ohio State.
— Malik Vann™❗️ (@_Next_Era1) November 14, 2016
Vann has picked up interest from both schools he’ll be watching, but only Michigan State has offered. He surely knows plenty about the Spartans, as his teammate Josiah Scott has been committed to Michigan State since July.
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 at how they fared this weekend.
- Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.) offensive guard Kevin Jarvis helped pave the way for running back Fotis Kokosioulis to rush for 115 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-31 win over Lincoln-Way East. The Hawks advanced to the state semifinals.
- Cass Tech (Detroit) offensive guard Jordan Reid led a line that helped Donovan Johnson rush for 285 yards and four touchdowns in a regional final win over Saline. The Technicians won 43-42 to advance to the semifinals.
- Walled Lake (Mich.) Western wide receiver Cody White can’t stop scoring. A 40-yard touchdown run and five-yard touchdown grab helped the Warriors to a 61-21 thrashing of Fenton and a berth in the state semifinals.
- Behind Massillon (Ohio) Perry offensive guard Matt Carrick, the Panthers ran over Franklin Heights, 66-28, with 509 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Perry advances to the regional final.
- Bishop Moore Catholic (Orlando, Fla.) defensive end Donovan Winter had two sacks, an additional tackle for loss and three pressures in helping the Hornets hold off Merritt Island 21-19 in a regional quarterfinal battle.
- St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) defensive end Lashawn Paulino-Bell recorded one of his team’s four sacks in a 35-0 win over Palm Beach Lakes in the regional quarterfinals.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.