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Welcome Aboard: Benny McGowan


Hey, recruiting posts are back!  It's been about a week and a half since offensive guard Benny McGowan committed to Michigan State at the Spring game.  The 6'4", 290 lb. lineman became the (then) third member of the 2012 recruiting class, turning down offers from Iowa, UCLA, and Cincnnati in the process (I'm pretty sure a player can't play for more than one NCAA team, but then again has anyone really tried it?  Food for thought).    He seemed unsure about his commitment until he visited:

"I love the feel of the place," he said. "The coaches were great, and it was best set-up of any visit I’ve been on.."I really didn’t know, but when I was here, it just felt right to me," he said. "I felt like I might as well do it while I’m here."

That's the spirit.  After the jump, more on McGowan.

The recruiting services are split on McGowan's potential.  Rivals has him currently ranked and so does 247, but Scout has him has a three-star recruit and is their #24 guard in the nation.  ESPN has him on their top 150 watch list to boot.  They're a bit spread, but if I had to guess I'd say he's a high three-star when Rivals and 247 get around to ranking all the relevant recruits in 2012.

McGowan enhanced his profile with a strong performance at the NIKE SPARQ Combine in Ohio last February.  While his 40 was a bit leisurely (5.38, this differs from Rivals where his time is simply listed as "5"), he posted a shuttle time of 4.51, which was only one hundredth of a second behind Michigan recruit Mario Ojemudia.  He also posted a vertical jump of 26.5 inches and scored a 42 in the kneeling power ball toss; the latter score tied for third overall in the combine and first among offensive linemen.  His SPARQ score was 100.53, and I'll let TomVH from MGoBlog explain the significance of that last number:

- Ifeadi's teammate, OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 300 lbs) was the first offensive lineman to ever score over 100 on the Sparq scale. Ifeadi told me that Benny was injured for most of his season, which is why there aren't more schools after him, but he's a sleeper.

I have a feeling athleticism won't be a problem.  Duane Long, a writer for Bucknuts and the Duane Long report, ranks McGowan as the number three offensive lineman in Ohio for 2012, and has this to say:

This is the offensive lineman I cannot stop watching. I have said that McGowan is the first guard I have given a five-star rating to in five years. Recently on Bucknuts I hinted that I no longer had a five-star rating on a guard. I have been talking to a couple of current high school coaches that were D-1 college offensive linemen. Those conversations, and one with Mark Porter, are why I no longer rate McGowan a five-star guard. I think he can be a great right tackle. He is a guard for Centerville because that is where he is needed in their offensive scheme. He is a long kid and long arms and a great looking body.

MSU's other offensive line recruit, Zach Higgins, is ranked number seven on Long's list, so you might as well take a gander of his write-up as well.  Lastly, fluff!  Centerville high school's head coach (and McGowan's) Ron Ullery has lots of praise:

"If you watched him all year long, whether it’s football or track, he always gave it his all, "said coach Ullery. "He’s a 3.7 GPA guy who is in a tough curriculum here at Centerville and that’s the way he approaches everything. He’s not a half-speed type of guy and his attitude seems to be, ‘If I’m going to do something, I might as well do it the best I can and find out how good I can be at it.’ That attitude carries over to football and he never takes a play off, even in practice.

"He played all of last year with a high ankle sprain that he got in week one. He was probably only 70 to 90 percent all year, and he never missed a practice or game. He’s just a very tough kid."

It looks like Michigan State got a great one here, and with David Barrent's retirement MSU could use (along with every other football team in existence) an athletic offensive lineman.  While McGowan's listed as a guard I would not be surprised in the slightest to see McGowan move to tackle; his shuttle time suggests he has the lateral quickness to play the position.   Welcome aboard Mr. McGowan, I've got a feeling you'll like it in East Lansing.