Michigan State Football Recruiting Needs: Offense

Ah, Summer.  When a young sports fan's thoughts turn to recruiting, because you can only watch the end of the MSU-Maryland game for a couple hours each day.  For the 2011 recruiting class, the Spartans are set at one position and are scouring Michigan, Ohio, and a good portion of the East Coast looking for the next Javon Ringer or Charles Rogers (pro career excluded).  Here's a look at what positions on offense are set for 2011 and what positions need recruiting help.  Walk-ons were not included unless they're on the offensive line (where a good portion see play) or saw a decent amount of playing time last season.

QUARTERBACK

Seniors: None

Juniors: Kirk Cousins, sort of Keith Nichol, Keshawn Martin (if you're counting the wildcat)

Sophomores: None

Freshmen: Andrew Maxwell (R), Joe Boisture

2011 Recruits: Connor Cook

NEED: NONEXISTENT

In 2011, there'll be four full-time quarterbacks on the roster (Cousins won't go pro barring a Heisman-type season), and that's the way it'll stay.

RUNNING BACK

Seniors: None

Juniors: None

Sophomores: Edwin Baker, Larry Caper

Freshmen: Nick Hill, Le'Veon Bell, Jeremy Langford

2011 Recruits: Onaje Miller

NEED: ONE, BUT IT'S NOT A HUGE NEED

In August of 2009, running back was the deepest spot on the football roster, then the great exodus happened.  A.J. Jimmerson graduated, Andre Anderson and Caulton Ray left due to playing time concerns, Ashton Leggett and Glenn Winston left due to their parts in the Rather Hall Brawl, leaving just Edwin Baker and Larry Caper as the only two backs that have any regular season experience.  Nick Hill and Le'Veon Bell both looked good in the Spring however, easing the need a bit for two running backs in the 2011 class.

WIDE RECEIVER

Seniors: Mark Dell

Juniors: B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin, Keith Nichol, Chris D. Rucker, Cam Martin, Brad Sonntag

Sophomores: Milton Colbert

Freshmen: Bennie Fowler (R), Donald Spencer (R),  Keith Mumphery, Tony Lippett, Kurtis Drummond (possible DB?)

2011 Recruits: Andre Sims Jr. (another possible DB?)

NEED: TWO, POSSIBLY THREE DEPENDING ON DB DEPTH

The need for wide receivers won't become fully evident until 2012, when five wideouts will graduate.  Getting at least two wide receivers in the 2011 class and another two in the 2012 class would mean the Spartans will have at least nine players at the position in 2012, assuming everyone's well behaved or doesn't transfer.  That seems good enough, but another one would allow Dantonio the luxury of moving someone over to the defensive backfield if recruiting there becomes a problem.

TIGHT ENDS

Seniors: Charlie Gantt

Juniors: Brian Linthicum, Garrett Celek

Sophomores: Dion Sims

Freshmen: Derek Hoebing (R)

2011 Class: None

NEED: JUST ONE

The pattern's pretty clear - excluding the past year, there's one tight end per class that was recruited to Michigan State, and Linthicum, the transfer from Clemson.  That trend will hopefully continue with one tight end in 2011, and another recruit at this position wouldn't surprise me, especially since one wasn't taken in the 2010 class.

FULLBACKS

Seniors: Nick Bendzuck, Josh Rouse

Juniors: Adam Setterbo

Sophomores: Drew Stevens

Freshmen: Niko Palazeti

2011 Class: None

NEED: NOPE

If MSU does need a fullback a couple years down the line, I think it's more likely they fire up the ol' linebacker-to-fullback converter they had running at full steam after John L. Smith was fired.

CENTER

Seniors: John Stipek

Juniors: None

Sophomores: None

Freshmen: Nate Klatt (R)

2011 Class: None

NEED: ONE PLEASE, BUT ANY LINEMAN WILL DO

Stipek and Klatt were the only two centers listed on State's spring roster, and although you can convert any offensive lineman to center (Stipek's actually a converted defensive lineman), it's preferential to groom one for the role, as is the case with Klatt.  A specialized center would be nice in 2011, but still a luxury.

OFFENSIVE GUARD

Seniors: None

Juniors: Antonio Jeremiah, Joel Foreman

Sophomores: Ethan Ruhland, Chris McDonald, Zach Hueter

Freshmen: Hugh Stangeland (R), Skyler Schofner, Travis Jackson, Michael Dennis, Connor Kruse (two of the four)

2011 Class: None

NEED: TWO

Note: I'm unsure whether all the freshmen listed will be at guard or tackle, so I'll list them at both spots.  I'll split the difference and say two will be at guard and two will be at tackle.   It's refreshing to look at a position on the offensive line and see that no one's graduating, but regardless, I think the coaching staff is looking for two linemen in the 2011 class to play offensive guard.

On a sidenote, Hugh Stangeland is an awesome name for an offensive lineman.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Seniors: D.J. Young, J'Michael Deane

Juniors: Jared McGaha

Sophomores: John Deyo

Freshmen: David Barrent (R), Henry Conway (R), Skyler Schofner, Travis Jackson, Michael Dennis, Connor Kruse (two of the four)

2011 Class: None

NEED: TWO

I think only three scholarship linemen in the class of 2010 is a bit less than what the coaching staff would've liked, so they may try to catch up a bit in 2011.  Five would be the perfect number for offensive linemen in this upcoming class, and I think State has to get at least four to feel secure about the line in coming years.

Next up - the defense.

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