The Opening: Matt Dotson picks consistency, relationships at Michigan State
BEAVERTON, Ore. – Earlier today, Michigan State added its 14th commitment of the 2017 recruiting cycle when Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) 4-star tight end Matt Dotson picked the Spartans over Big Ten rival Penn State, earning a hearty congratulations from his future coach, Mark Dantonio.
Congrats! From a Tight Crusader to a Spartan for the 6th time! #**** #V4MSU!
— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) July 7, 2016
It’s that kind of relationship that helped seal the deal for Dotson, who was – until a little over a week ago – leaning towards the Nittany Lions.
“I really considered it about a week ago,” Dotson told Landof10. “I took a step back, me and my mom, we looked at all the pros and cons of Penn State and Michigan State. Michigan State, you know, they just had – I don’t want to say they had better things, like objective things – but the people, the environment, things like that. The behind-the-scenes kind of thing? I really enjoyed that, really felt like home.”
The sixth player from Moeller to recently head to Michigan State, Dotson sees a developing pipeline from Cincinnati to East Lansing and he wants to continue that momentum for the Spartans.
“I’ll be the sixth player from Moeller High School to go to Michigan State in the past 6, 7, 8 years,” Dotson said. “We’ve got that little, like, train going. All the Moeller football players have had a lot of success at Michigan State and in the NFL so that’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
It’s not just the connections at Michigan State for Dotson, it’s the consistency from the Spartans that made a difference, especially against Penn State who has had some coaching turnover of late.
“There’s not many other teams, maybe Bama or Ohio State,” Dotson said. “That they’re there, every single year knocking on the door for a national championship. That’s a big deal. I’m going to be coming in fighting for the third spot instantly and also having the chance to win a national championship as a freshman.”
What the Spartans are getting out of the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Dotson? A special athlete that has yet to hit his ceiling according to his coach at Moeller, John Rodenberg.
“His speed is his biggest asset,” Rodenberg said of his tight end. “He’s really good in space and has the ability to pack on lot of pounds – he’s got a very good frame. He is just getting started in this sport, and also has a great legacy. His grandfather, Steve Niehaus, was the first pick ever of the Seattle Seahawks and an All-American at Moeller.”
Rodenberg said that if he hadn’t been hampered by a wrist injury that forced him to miss most of his junior season, Dotson’s recruiting profile may be much higher.
“He’s got great potential,” Rodenberg said. “He’s still very raw as a tight end, so this will be a big year in his development. His hand injury really delayed his progress last year or he would be a 5-star prospect.”
Now that he’s committed to the Spartans, Dotson will put on his recruiting hat and hope to find more players to join him at Michigan while he’s in Oregon this week.
“I’m going to be doing the most recruiting,” Dotson said. “I’m a very outgoing person and I’m looking forward to building a great class.”