Spartan Pupdate (3/26/13)

Reese Strickland

Bringing you a new football recruiting segment with updates and interviews with players MSU is targeting.

(Welcome to a new segment at The Only Colors, as we are upping the work we do with football recruiting. The name "Spartan Pupdate" is derived from Spartan Dawgs. This is a work in progress, so bear with me as I give this a go. Feel free to leave suggestions/feedback in the comments section.)

Michigan State is looking to add four or five offensive linemen to the 2014 class and one player the Spartans would love to have is Florrisant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central offensive tackle Roderick Johnson.

The 6-foot-7, 310-pound prospect visited East Lansing with his parents on Friday and came away liking what he saw.

"The visit went really well, everything was really nice," Johnson said. "There were a lot of good things, seeing the practice, really nice facilities, talking with the coaches and a meet-and-greet with the players in between reps."

The consensus four-star recruit also got some one-on-one time to talk with Mark Dantonio.

"He is a really good person," Johnson said. "He told me how it isn't just about four years of football, they maintain the relationship through life. He is a really good man and wants to make sure you graduate."

Johnson stressed the importance of academics in his recruitment.

"I am looking at the education in my program (computer science) and the graduation rate and academic progress rate -- just good academics," Johnson said. "Then how do the players like it there and the style of offense."

Johnson said Terry Samuel is his primary recruiter and they talk quite often.

This visit was his first to East Lansing and he said he might visit again as he and his parents are talking about the possibility of a second trip.

Johnson plans on making a Signing Day decision, saying he knows he has time and will enjoy the process. He added that he will soon decide his top schools from among his dozen offers and that MSU will be among them.

--2014 IMG Academy quarterback Michael O'Connor received an offer after a stellar showing at a one-day camp last summer, but didn't get a full picture of Michigan State.

With his visit Monday to East Lansing, O'Connor got to see all that Michigan State offers.

"I learned the coaching staff is very family oriented and that they care for their players and that there is a great academic support system," he said.

During his visit, O'Connor and his parents visited with all the coaches and saw all the facilities, while meeting Tom Izzo and watching the basketball team practice. Still, time with Coach Dantonio was at the forefront.

"I spent a lot of time with Coach Dantonio. He took me on a tour of campus, so that was nice," O'Connor said. "He said that they want me as their 2014 QB and that it's on me now basically."

O'Connor also will be visiting Notre Dame, Penn State and Rutgers and said he would like to make a decision "sometime in the next two months."

-- Galion (Ohio) athlete Dareian Watkins is a name MSU fans have heard a lot, and for good reason. He is high on MSU and had named the Spartans in his top five, but after Wisconsin re-entered the picture Watkins isn't favoring any schools until he has made a visit to each one.

He has a visit to East Lansing scheduled for April 19-20. He visited Indiana over the weekend and Illinois on Monday.

-- Erie Cathedral Prep was very good to MSU in the last recruiting cycle and the Ramblers have a 2014 cornerback the Spartans are interested in.

Felix Manus-Schell doesn't have any offers yet, but the junior will visit Michigan State today with 2013 commit Damion Terry and possibly Delton Williams. The cornerback was instrumental in the Ramblers state title last season, including the game-sealing interception in the state title game.

Manus-Schell also plans to camp at MSU this summer, which likely will be his best chance to earn an offer.

--Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) wide receiver Jalen Brown has an MSU offer and the interest appears to be mutual. Brown is planning a trip to the Midwest near the end of spring to visit multiple schools.

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