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What comes to mind when you hear the term bowl season?
If you’re a Michigan State fan, it has surely meant the time during which college football teams battle it out. But this time around, with the Spartans at home following a 3-9 season, maybe the term now refers to high school All-American games.
Tyree Johnson, a Texas A&M commit and 3-star defensive end according to 247Sports, spoke about his Michigan State official visit plans last week prior to the Under Armour All-America Game that was played Sunday. Three-star Spartans defensive end commit Donovan Winter told Land of 10 he received an invite to the upcoming Blue-Grey All-American Bowl to be played Jan. 14 in Jacksonville, Fla.
And now comes the biggest of all: the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. It takes place Saturday in San Antonio, and practices have already begun. Most players taking part who have announced Michigan State offers have either committed elsewhere or removed the Spartans from consideration.
There is one main target, though, whom the Spartans must feel they have a chance to land: 4-star prospect Oliver Martin. 247Sports ranks the Iowa City West Senior High wide receiver as the No. 1 player in Iowa and the No. 32 receiver in the nation.
— Hank South (@HankSouth247) January 2, 2017
Martin has opted to stay very quiet during his recruitment and has spurned just about every interview request. While down in San Antonio, however, he has no choice but to face the swarms of media who will surely take this opportunity to ask him anything and everything about the process.
He spoke with Land of 10’s Jeremy Birmingham on Monday, telling him that he would be taking an official visit to Michigan State over the weekend of Jan. 13. This will be a huge opportunity for him to meet and hang out with a lot of Spartans commits who will also be there that weekend.
Martin also told Birmingham about what has most attracted him to Michigan State.
Iowa and Notre Dame are considered top candidates to land Martin. Michigan, at one time, had been included in that list. But with a great chance to land 4-star WR Nico Collins, it looks unlikely the Wolverines would even have room in their class.
Stay locked in at Land of 10, as Birmingham and Brandon Justice are among the reporters down in San Antonio ready to supply you with coverage.
Spartans still locked in on Smith for OLB spot
Outside linebacker remains one of the most precarious spots for Michigan State recruiting.
Who will fill the spot? Three-star Tennessee commit Jaquan Henderson took an official visit to Michigan State in October, but one has to imagine it would be very tough to flip him from a team that just finished 9-4 with a convincing bowl win.
Junior college prospect Marquise Blair and 4-star Ohio State de-commit Antjuan Simmons come to mind. Additionally, 3-star prospect L.J. Cummings has also been in talks about getting out for an official visit, although he has not been offered.
And don’t forget about 3-star N.C. State commit Nick Smith, whom Michigan State offered back in October. He told Land of 10 the Spartans continue to pursue him, and 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow reports that, like Martin, Smith plans to visit Michigan State on Jan. 13.
A recent LSU offer should also be very enticing for Smith. And considering how he’s long been committed to the Wolfpack, it won’t be easy to sway him. Then again, nothing has come easy for the Spartans in recruiting the past few months.
MSU commitment stat tracker
Michigan State currently has four basketball verbal commitments: two in the 2017 class and two in 2018. Over the past week, both seniors hit the floor following a short holiday break.
Five-star La Lumiere (Ind.) forward Jaren Jackson Jr. dropped in 10 points as his squad, the top-ranked in the nation, rolled to an 88-43 win against Aberdeen (S.D.) Central on Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Four-star Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian big man Xavier Tillman posted 13 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in a 57-49 win over Holland (Mich.) West Ottawa on Wednesday.
Both players will be back in action this week and look to continue undefeated starts for their teams.