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.
Two weeks ago, Michigan State co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman was talking to 2018 Mentor (Ohio) quarterback Tadas Tatarunas on the phone about his studies.
Bollman asked about the junior’s classes. Tatarunas told him AP Spanish had been challenging. Bollman regularly calls before Tatarunas’ games, so this was a typical conversation. Up until Spartans coach Mark Dantonio got on the line.
“¿Qué pasa?” Dantonio said, which translates to “What’s up?”
From there, they discussed Tatarunas’ season and how he had been playing. With a bye coming up, Dantonio said he’d be watching film.
“He’s a really awesome guy,” Tatarunas said of Dantonio. “He just told me just have fun and do what I usually do. He just told me they’re going to recruit me.”
He wasn’t lying. Whether it’s Bollman or quarterbacks coach Brad Salem or co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner, Tatarunas hears from the staff “daily.” He hasn’t received feedback on his film yet, but he said he’s focused on the season and letting the process play out.
He’s thrown for 683 yards and seven touchdowns over four games. He tries to model himself after the style of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. His team is 1-3, largely because it has faced one of the toughest schedules in Ohio.
Michigan State continues to be the team pursuing Tatarunas the hardest. He does not have any offers yet, but he has the Spartans’ attention, and the feeling is mutual.
“I’m very impressed with Michigan State,” he said. “They’ve been sending me letters it seems like every day … They’ve shown me a lot of love, and I just love hearing from them.”
Tatarunas visited East Lansing for a camp, where his performance sent his stock soaring. He’ll be back for a visit when Michigan State hosts Northwestern for its Oct. 15 homecoming game.
By that time he may have picked up offers from the Spartans or other programs. He’s been told that midseason is when he could start hearing that news. For now, he understands how early it is and isn’t limiting his options.
“I don’t really have a top list,” Tatarunas said. “I love all the Big Ten schools. I love Miami and those MAC schools, and then of course the ACC schools. I don’t really have a list. My favorite schools are of course the schools that show me interest back.”
That would make Michigan State a favorite.
The spirit sucker
Or psyche smasher, or something like that. Jackson Carman went with “soul collector.”
The Soul Collector ☠✊? pic.twitter.com/1XJHDUfyPe
— Jackson Carman (@Jackson_Carman) September 16, 2016
It’s tough to argue with that assessment of his work — partially because it looks pretty accurate, partially because he might do it to you if you contradict him. You can see the referee didn’t want to get involved.
The 5-star Fairfield (Ohio) tackle has a Michigan State offer, but he also holds offers from Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and a host of others. You can see why.
Unfortunately for the rest of the state, the 6-foot-6 Carman is only a junior, so he’ll be roughing up defensive linemen for quite some time.
Spartans recruits in South Bend
Shout out to 247Sports’ Tom Loy, who did the legwork and put together a massive list of visitors for Michigan State’s game against Notre Dame this weekend.
If you’re checking the Irish sideline, look for Carman, the aforementioned mammoth of a young man. He’s expected to be there. So is 4-star DE Leonard Taylor, in whom Michigan State has shown interest.
Emil Ekiyor, a 4-star offensive lineman who has offers from Michigan and Michigan State, is on the list, as is 4-star DE and top MSU target Tyreke Smith.
As you can see, this game could have strong recruiting implications. Notre Dame and Michigan State recruit quite a few of the same players, and these prospects will have the chance to see both programs up close. Granted, they’ll be closer to the Irish, but a Michigan State win could leave a strong impression.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.