It's a slow day for Michigan State news (thankfully -- the only news that usually comes out in July either involves the term "ACL exploded" or "who took what from the liquor store"), and I've realized I've got a backlog of recruits that need "Welcome Aboard" posts. Running back Nick Tompkins is the latest recruit, so why not start digging out of this hole at the top. Here's how the recruiting services rank Tompkins:
Rivals: 3 stars, 5.6 Rivals Ranking, #10 All-Purpose Back
Scout: 3 stars, #62 Running Back
247 Sports: 3 stars, Grade of 85
ESPN: 3 stars, Grade of 75, #58 Running Back
Those are solid, establishing Tompkins as a good three-star running back. For those wondering why Rivals ranked Tompkins as an all-purpose back and not under the category of running back...yeah, I don't know either. If I had to guess I'd say being deemed an "all-purpose back" means Rivals sees the 5'10", 185 pound runner as a pass-catcher as well; I think the term that's closest is "third down back". Anyway, while discussing Tompkins his coach, Mark Crews, highlights pass-catching as one of the skills Tompkins needs to refine:
That's one thing that he can work and improve on. He can get a little smoother catching the ball. We're a run-first kind of team then what we do when we get people pressed where they can't stop us running the ball is that opens up our play action game and all the things we do with our running backs.
Hypothetically one of the reasons Tompkins interest was sparked in MSU is that two of his teammates will be attending Michigan State in the fall (WR Andre Sims Jr. and walk-on kicker Erick Yang). I don't know that for sure but it seems logical, right? Michigan State wasn't the first school interested in Tompkins, and he might have committed to another school last Winter, according to his father:
"If Georgia Tech had offered him earlier, he would’ve probably committed to Georgia Tech back in February. When he didn’t get an early offer, he still really liked them. In fact, I thought it was going to be between Georgia Tech and Maryland. But the more time he spent with the Big Ten schools, the more he wanted to play in that conference.
The Big Ten schools that were interested: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue; all offered him scholarships along with California, The aforementioned Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Army, Boston College, and others. That's a group of offers that implies that Tompkins not only has the talent, he has the brains to play at a Division one school as well.
The Spartans are currently loaded on the depth chart at running back, and the coaching staff apparently thinks so as well. Tompkins's father said that Nick would be the only player at his position in the 2012 recruiting class:
Michigan State said they were only going to take one running back for sure. They’ve offered some pretty good running backs, some of the top in the country. He wanted to make sure he would get that spot.
Barring Tompkins's decommitment, he'll be the first and last running back to sign a MSU letter of intent in 2012. As for running back-ish recruits in 2012, Dennis Norfleet looks like the only possibility (and he still is, he lists MSU and Tennessee as his two leaders) for someone similar, and he may end up as a slot receiver. Welcome aboard, Nick!