Spartan Pupdate is producing running backs

Leon Halip

With many more visits to campus and offers going out, one Michigan State football recruiting target knows the Spartans love to run the ball.

Michigan State has produced some very good running backs in recent years in Javon Ringer, Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell.

This is fact that isn't lost on recruits, especially not with Niles (Ill.) Notre Dame School for Boys running back Chris James, who received an offer on his visit to East Lansing on March 28.

"I knew that MSU has had a great wave of running backs in the past few years, so getting that offer was great -- it was unbelievable," James said. "It means a lot that they have the confidence in me that I could be a part of that next wave of backs at Michigan State."

James said when coach Mark Dantonio called him into his office and told him he had an offer that he was amazed. He said the coaches told him they like his "explosiveness and ability to take it to the house."

The 5-foot-10, 209-pound back was recently clocked at 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, so it is little wonder why the staff offered James.

James said he likes the way the Michigan State offense is focused on the running backs.

"The run-first mentality of the offense is great," James said. "Watching the season last year, they ran it as much as 40 times per game in some games."

James, who ran for 2,100 yards and 32 touchdowns as a junior, said the highlight of his visit was meeting with the coaches -- all of them, not just his position coaches -- as well as the practice.

"I really liked the practice," James said. "I got to sit and talk with coaches. Coach Mannie was really fired up. When I walked in he started screaming and was telling me about the iron sharpens iron mentality."

He also spoke highly of how the players all seem to have to fun, adding "you can see they have the mentality of really wanting to win."

James said he doesn't have a real timetable for a decision and is just enjoying the process for now, but by June or July he should have a good idea of where he might be going.

-- East Grand Rapids is a school known for football and the community loves its Pioneers. So much, in fact, that a 2015 prospect on MSU's radar once dressed up as former EGR and Michigan running back Kevin Grady for Halloween.

Things have come full circle for sophomore Carter Masek, who now is attracting Division 1 attention on the gridiron.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker visited East Lansing a couple weeks ago and took in a practice and meetings.

"The visit was awesome," Masek said. "The facilities were amazing and the practice was great ... everything about it was so fast and physical and quick."

The defense and linebackers stood out to Masek -- one in particular.

"They all really fly to the ball. The defense is always physical and they make plays and have been successful. I also loved watching Max Bullough a lot."

Masek, who is coming off his first season of varsity football, also said he likes that Michigan State is close to home, as well as the tradition and how successful MSU is.

He holds an offer from Western Michigan already, and has visited Northwestern, too. He said he plans to visit Western again and also get up to get to Central Michigan.

Masek said an offer from the Spartans would "mean a lot" and he plans to camp at Michigan State this summer.

-- Chicago Mt. Carmel defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr. decided to take time away from media surrounding his recruitment in order to focus on his upcoming high school season. Smith did tell me that MSU is among the schools he is considering.

In his Facebook post saying he is taking a step back from interviews, Smith said he has "a good sense of schools that have truly showed me genuine interest." As you would expect, Smith says he is going to take his time making a decision.

-- Southfield defensive end Lawrence Marshall is no stranger to Michigan State, as he has visited East Lansing many times. The one-time Ohio State commit will visit for a spring practice Saturday. It might seem like an ordinary visit, but it is a little victory for MSU because both Michigan and Ohio State have their spring games Saturday.

-- Berrien Springs offensive lineman Nick Padla had visited multiple times already and he will be back again Thursday for a spring practice and again Saturday for the spring game.

He doesn't have an offer yet but said, "I think when I go up there next weekend, there's a good chance I get one."

Padla also is hearing from Michigan, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Purdue and a bunch of MAC schools.

More

Boykin recaps his MSU visit (Rivals) - 2015 New Lenox (Ill.) Providence Catholic wide receiver Miles Boykin took a trip to Michigan State this week, spending Monday night and all of Tuesday in East Lansing. The 6-foot-5 receiver doesn't have an offer yet, but is a name to watch in 2015.

Michigan State looking strong for bruising tailback Gerald Owens (Detroit News) - Scout.com's analysts think MSU is in a two-team battle for big West Deptford High (Westville, N.J.) back Owens. They also give info on the two latest defensive ends MSU offered (see below).

New Offers (4/5/13-4/11/13)

Defensive end Robert Bowers, Columbus, Ohio (Walnut Ridge)

Defensive end Tymere Dubose, Youngstown, Ohio (Youngstown Christian School)

Cornerback Raymond Wingo, Saint Louis, Mo. (St. Louis University)

Cornerback Arrion Springs, San Antonio, Texas (Roosevelt)

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