Spartans’ 2017 recruiting class far from complete
This article first appeared on SpartanAvenue.com
Winning key recruiting battles in the Midwest against Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State is going to be a challenge for Michigan State recruiting as long as college football is being played at these schools. Following a disappointing 3–9 season, MSU must not only recruit against these traditional behemoths, but also the notion that it is on the downfall.
Michigan State has steadily climbed up national recruiting rankings the past five years, starting at 33rd nationally in 2012 and culminating with a 17th overall ranking for the 2016 class. That rise, however, coincided with MSU’s ascent up the rankings for its play on the football field.
As it currently stands, the Spartans’ 2017 class ranks 26th nationally with room for more commitments to either increase or drop that ranking. While MSU faced a similar challenge when it finished with a 6–7 record in 2009 following a nine-win campaign in 2008, the drop-off from the College Football Playoff to a bowl-less three-win season requires much more damage control.
Considering MSU’s top commitments, four-star recruits Kevin Jarvis (OG), Matt Dotson (TE) and Hunter Rison (WR), are all considered strong commits, it’s unlikely this class will fall far. In fact, with the Spartans still in good standing with several other highly-ranked players, another top 20 class is actually still in the cards.
While players like five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and four-star cornerback Ambry Thomas are likely long-shots for the Spartans to sign, there are plenty of talented recruits who very well could end up in green and white. Names to watch are four-stars KJ Hamler (WR), Tyler Johnson (TE/DE), Deron Irving-Bey (DE) and Antjuan Simmons (OLB) — all of which are pegged as leans to MSU by national recruiting experts.
Furthermore, MSU is also in a good place to land solid three-star players like Christian Cumber (CB), Jaquan Henderson (OLB) and Meshael Custis (CB).
If Michigan State can hold on to its top commitments and finish with a class ranked in or just out of the top 25, Spartan fans would have to consider this a major victory. Regardless, they should have faith in the MSU program regardless of where this class ends up ranking.
Mark Dantonio has proven countless times that as long as he can get the right players into his system, he can turn them into college stars. Kirk Cousins, Le’Veon Bell, Connor Cook, Shilique Calhoun, Trae Waynes and Darqueze Dennard were all ranked as low three-star recruits when they entered MSU and they all left as superstars.
For years Spartan fans have been remarking, just imagine what MSU will be when Dantonio starts getting his hands on some of those more highly-polished recruits. With plenty of highly-regarded underclassmen just scratching the surface of their potential and a few more prized recruits joining with the 2017 class, we’ll finally get a chance to see this reality.
Don’t jump ship now, Spartan nation — plenty of more highs are on the horizon.