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Before the home matchup Saturday with Oral Roberts, Michigan State had played four straight road games in two countries over the course of six days.
Finally, the Spartans were back in the Breslin Center, and fans reacted accordingly, filling up the seats to see their team take on a 1-6 Golden Eagles squad that would ultimately push Michigan State in a slim 80-76 win by the Spartans.
Though most of the arena’s lower bowl was filled with Izzone members, open space remained, ready to be filled with recruits. Near the half-court line sat Michigan State’s newest commit, 3-star Clarkston (Mich.) point guard Foster Loyer. He was joined by his father, former Pistons coach and current Clippers scout John Loyer.
Michigan State commit Foster Loyer is taking in the game with his dad, former Pistons coach John Loyer. (Thomas Kithier is behind them.) pic.twitter.com/knxy02qpbu
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) December 3, 2016
Fellow 2018 commit Thomas Kithier, a 4-star Macomb (Mich.) Dakota forward, took in the game a row behind them. He hung around the locker room afterward, presumably to see the coaches and players, and posed for a picture with his partner in the Spartans’ junior class.
Class of 2018 ☝️? pic.twitter.com/UJdAnVw56h
— Thomas Kithier (@ThomasKithier) December 4, 2016
Football prospects vastly outnumbered the hoops recruits. A group of MSU targets, including 3-star official visitors Connor Heyward and Kofi Wardlow, sat across from the Spartans bench and appeared to be enjoying themselves.
They were joined by much of the Michigan State football staff: head coach Mark Dantonio, co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett, linebackers coach Mark Snyder, quarterbacks coach/recruiting coordinator Brad Salem and director of college advancement and performance Curtis Blackwell. Athletics director Mark Hollis joined them in the second half.
This marked the first of two straight big recruiting weekends before the end of the current live period. Michigan State has needs at running back, wide receiver, offensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, cornerback, safety, you name it.
Now’s the time to get those guys on campus, especially those who live far away and don’t have the means to take anything other than an official visit.
Spartans make a push for 4-star WR
That aforementioned need at receiver? Michigan State will look to make progress at filling it over the final weekend in 2016 during which it can host visitors.
Four-star 2018 wideout Jaylen Harris of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, confirmed to Land of 10 that he will take an official visit to Michigan State over the weekend of Dec. 9-11.
This comes shortly after the Spartans sent co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel to see Harris for an in-home visit on Wednesday.
— Jaylen Harris (@JHarris5_) November 30, 2016
“The visit went well!” Harris told Land of 10 in a text.
MSU will have to do a lot to show how badly it wants and needs Harris. The 6-foot-5 senior, ranked the No. 27 receiver in the nation, also has Ohio State, Penn State and Tennessee heavily pursuing him. And all three of those teams will have the benefit of playing during bowl season.
Similar to this weekend, Harris’ visit will involve a Saturday basketball game which Michigan State should win. This one is against Tennessee Tech. As they typically do in recruiting, the Spartans will try to sway him with relationships and the idea of a family atmosphere.
“I know I’m going to have a good time,” Harris said.
MSU commits collect postseason honors
For most, the high school season is done, which means awards season has begun. And Michigan State commits did their best to load up on hardware before they head off to college.
Let’s start in Michigan. All four in-state commits received Associated Press first team All-State honors in Division 1-2: Hunter Rison at wide receiver, Cody White at specialist and Mustafa Khaleefah and Jordan Reid on the offensive line. The Detroit Free Press named Khaleefah, Reid and White to its 2016 Dream Team.
And White, who had nine passing, nine receiving and seven rushing touchdowns as a senior, was named 2016 Hungry Howie’s Mr. Football for the state of Michigan.
Down in Ohio, three 2017 Spartans commits picked up Associated Press first team All-State honors: Weston Bridges at running back, Matt Carrick on the offensive line and Dominique Long in the secondary. Cornerback Josiah Scott earned special mention.
Over in Iowa, quarterback Rocky Lombardi picked up first team All-State honors from the Iowa Newspaper Association.
That’s just the 2017 class. Pickerington (Ohio) Central defensive back Xavier Henderson, a 2018 Michigan State commit, filled up his trophy case with enough honors for a career.
The Columbus Dispatch named Henderson its defensive player of the year in Central Ohio Division I as well as for all divisions in the six counties surrounding Columbus. His stellar junior campaign also placed him on Ohio’s All-State first team list, noted above.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.