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.
One player makes this a huge recruiting weekend for Michigan State football.
The No. 1 receiver in the nation (and No. 1 player overall in Michigan) will be in East Lansing this weekend. Five-star wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones announced his plans Thursday.
— Donovan P. Jones (@dpeoplesjones) October 13, 2016
Peoples-Jones, a senior at Cass Tech in Detroit, plays alongside Michigan State offensive line commit Jordan Reid, who will have to be an important part of the visit, showing Peoples-Jones around and getting him acquainted.
The Spartans have some ground to make up. Peoples-Jones is a Michigan lean, with Florida the likely No. 2, although he had to cancel his Gators visit last week because of Hurricane Matthew.
Instead, he went to Ohio State, the fourth team in serious contention. On that trip to Columbus, the Buckeyes pulled out all the stops and certainly helped their chances.
Peoples-Jones will be in for homecoming weekend, giving him a chance to see one of the liveliest campus atmospheres of the year. But it will be on the Spartans offense to show up and prove to him that it has the pieces in place to help him reach his potential.
Thanks, but no thanks
The recent struggles for Michigan State have led fans to question whether commits would start to look elsewhere.
Three-star Fairfield (Ohio) defensive back Josiah Scott heard from Penn State assistant Terry Smith on Wednesday about a potential spot with the Nittany Lions. But, per Scott, he respectfully declined.
I want to thank Penn State for reaching out & letting me know there's a spot for me on the team there, but I'm fine where I'm at #GoGreen✳️
— Josiah Scott © (@JosiahScott7) October 13, 2016
It’s a good sign for the program as a whole. The rough start could make a lot of players question their decisions, but MSU will likely be aided by the staff’s style of building strong relationships with players before they commit.
If there’s a commit to be concerned about, it’s the lone 2018 commit, 4-star athlete Xavier Henderson. And it’s not because Henderson has wavered on his decision. Rather, whenever a player of his caliber commits more than a year before the signing date, other programs won’t shy away from continuing their pursuit. In Henderson’s case, Ohio State has been in constant contact the past few weeks since his commitment to the Spartans.
The next year or so becomes a test of making sure Henderson still feels wanted in East Lansing. And, considering his talent, that shouldn’t be difficult to convey.
Underwood enjoys umpteenth visit
East Lansing junior safety Blake Underwood goes to school less than a mile from Michigan State’s campus. He practices right across the street from a fraternity house.
You can say he’s become pretty familiar with the school, and he’s getting close to the program as well. He hears from co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman every week with messages of good luck in his games.
He took another visit to see the Spartans’ game against BYU over the weekend, and he left with continued positive impressions.
“It was amazing,” Underwood said. “I liked it a lot. Every time I go there, it’s just something that catches my eye even more, something I really pay attention to.”
Underwood holds offers from Bowling Green and Illinois State. His brother Parker is a redshirt freshman for the Redbirds.
Games to watch for
Even though you likely won’t be able to watch these games live, they’re worth keeping an eye on.
IMG Academy (Fla.) at Oxbridge Academy, Thursday: This battle of undefeated Florida teams boasts Michigan State tight end commit Jack Camper of IMG going up against 4-star defensive back C.J. Smith of Oxbridge.
Fairfield (Ohio) at Colerain, Friday: A very talented 5-2 Fairfield squad featuring the aforementioned Scott will look to bounce back from last week’s loss, but it faces Ohio’s No. 1 team on the road. Colerain fields 4-star Ohio State commit Amir Riep.
Cardinal Mooney (Ohio) at Warren G. Harding, Friday: 4-star Michigan State target Lynn Bowden has been running all over teams this season, but now his undefeated Harding team takes on a Cardinal Mooney squad that has allowed an average of 10.5 points per game over the past four weeks.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.