The biggest news of the week obviously was the commitments of linebacker Shane Jones and quarterback Damion Terry on Monday. Jones is either a four-star or three-star recruit on Rivals, Scout or 24/7. Terry will probably be a consensus three-star when the rest of the ratings come out.
Then there's ESPN, which released its top-150 list yesterday. MSU didn't have a player on the list, but based on the player grades, a few guys look like they were on the fringe. And it's not who you would expect. ESPN rated Terry and Texas OL Caleb Benenoch as four-star prospects. Both got three stars from the other places. Jones and Jon Reschke, the two commits who got four stars by at least one of the first three, are not rated by ESPN.
MGoBlog just posted a solid breakdown of the four recruiting services.
As I said in my introduction, this is why I'm not big on ratings. It was probably hypocritical of me to devote the first few grafs of this roundup to ratings. But since ESPN released this yesterday, I figured I'd put some context to it.
Speaking of Benenoch, despite his commitment to MSU, how strong that commitment is seems to up in the air. He has been tweeting at players committed to MSU and has been showing a lot of excitement about coming MSU, but he has continued to visit and speak with other school, which is not a surprise. But this tweet from last week shows his parents might not be as excited about MSU. (h/t commenter araby_dunn)
@k_miller03 msu right now but my parents want me at Stanford or USC— Caleb Benenoch (@CalebBenenoch79) April 13, 2012
Stanford appears to have shown more interest than USC, but has yet to offer. His family would know better than we would. That tweet started to make the rounds and comparisons to Se'Von Pittman started to come out, which upset Benenoch.
SMH at the stuff ppl can say Abt a 17 year old kid making the biggest decision of his life.. I'm not Pittman and you don't know me GTF!— Caleb Benenoch (@CalebBenenoch79) April 17, 2012
This is why Tom Izzo calls Twitter a "terrible disease." People tweeting at athletes ripping them or trying to get them to come to their school is nothing new. Benenoch has replied to several of those people, and seems to be getting into it with Michigan fans. My guess is he'll stick with MSU unless something drastically changes. What does it say about those people attacking a 17-year-old kid? And what does it say about me that I'm writing about it?
With the commitment of Terry, the focus turns to his high school teammate, safety/athlete Delton Williams. Spartan Tailgate has a solid Q&A with Terry, including a question about Williams.
"We've always talked about it since freshman year that we'd love to play together. I'm gonna make a strong push to get him so I hope he chooses MSU. I'm gonna make him... Well, not make him, but I'm gonna try my hardest."
Update: Williams recently picked up offers from Nebraska and Penn State. He told 24/7 that Terry's commitment helps MSU's case, but it won't be the biggest reason he picks a school.
"It's up to me and where my heart is. I'm not just going to follow someone, there's a reason they're there and they're comfortable, that's how I've got the be, too."
Cass Tech OT on Spartan radar? (Rivals) - Dennis Finley's stock is on the rise and he performed well at the Adidas combine a few weeks ago. He currently has offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana and some MAC schools. MSU still needs some offensive tackles in the 2013 class. While U-M has expressed interest, they're pretty full on offensive linemen. Finley will be at the Spring Game and his sister attends MSU. If the Spartan coaches extend an offer, their chances of landing him appear to be pretty good.
Cass Tech DT on the Spartan radar? (Rivals) - I know, similar headline, right? Well, this story was actually written before the above one. Anyway, while MSU had loaded up with defensive linemen in the last few seasons, there are more questions in the middle of the line. MSU added one DT in the 2012 class and will graduate two after this season, so MSU is looking for at least one high-level DT. Like Finley, Kenton Gibbs has offers from Illinois and some MAC schools, along with interest from MSU and U-M. Gibbs plans to camp at both Michigan schools. While Cass Tech is a U-M pipeline, MSU's success with defensive linemen has been noticed by recruits. Said Gibbs:
"As long as Coach (Ted) Gill continues to make 1st round defensive tackles they will be a place I am interested in."
Obasih enjoyed Big Ten trips (Scout) - Wisconsin defensive end Chikwe Obasih visited MSU last week, but doesn't quite have an offer from them yet. He does have offers from Iowa, Wisconsin, Ole Miss and Purdue, among others. The three-star prospect is done with spring trips, and MSU seems very close to offering, as of Monday.
"They said they needed to see a little more film. Something went wrong when my coach sent the game film over. I talked to Coach Dantonio, he said they watched my highlight tape three times and it's just almost there and they just need an extra boost so Coach Salem's coming into my school Tuesday this week."
Spartans offer super soph McDowell (Rivals) - 2014 Detroit defensive end Malik McDowell is becoming one of the top recruits in the Midwest for 2014. MSU, Ohio State and Syracuse have already offered, while LSU and Alabama have shown interest. He attended MSU's scrimmage last weekend.
Arizona star will visit Spartans (24/7) - Three-star wide receiver Devon Allen has a long list of high-profile offers. The Ohio State legacy plans to stop visit Columbus in the summer, and when he does that, he'll stop by MSU, U-M, Purdue and Notre Dame. Allen told 24/7 he plans to make a decision by the end of the summer.
Hicks adds Pitt to his list (Rivals) - Three-star Ohio cornerback Darian Hicks recently added Pitt to the long list of offers he has received. Hicks will attend an MSU practice on April 24 and said MSU stands high on his list.
SEC next up for Baltimore (Scout) - MSU continues to make inroads in Texas, having recently offered three-star safety George Baltimore. Other schools to offer Baltimore include Arkansas, TCU, Kansas, Texas Tech, Arizona State and others. He has visited Oklahoma and LSU and his stock has been rising.
Some more OL visits. For some reason, I can't find any profiles on these guys.
Muskegon (MI) will have two junior O-Linemen, Antwan Billings (6'4 275) & Chandler Ricks (6'4 292) attending the #MichiganState spring game— Allen Trieu (@AllenTrieu) April 12, 2012
Update: Kicker visiting: Macomb kicker JJ McGrath tweeted that he will be visiting MSU with Reschke on Friday. From this Spartan Tailgate article, McGrath seems to have visited MSU many times. Kicker's don't get many scholarship offers, so if MSU were to offer, it sounds like there'd be a good shot to land him. McGrath has a really strong leg and is getting interest from a lot of high-profile schools.