Defensive tackle James Bodanis, University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) - (6-foot-6, 300 pounds)
Ratings: 247 (3 stars), Rivals (2 stars), Scout (unranked), ESPN (unranked)
Other notable offers: NC State
For the second week in a row, Michigan State picked up a commit from a little-known defensive tackle. This time, the player came from north of the border.
James Bodanis, a behemoth defensive tackle from the University of Toronto, committed to Michigan State during his official visit this weekend, just one week after Noah Jones joined the class.
As a transfer, Bodanis will have three years of eligibility left to play two. In other words, he has a redshirt year available if the staff chooses to use it. (Note: I am not sure if the normal transfer rules apply to a player going from a four-year school in Canada to a four-year school in the United States. My guess is that they are treated as transferring from one division to another, in which case Bodanis would not be required to sit out a year. I will keep an eye out for clarification/more information.)
Pat Narduzzi visited Bodanis this week, set up the visit and, once the offer was on the table, he committed.
Bodanis is the third defensive tackle in the class, joining Jones and Devyn Salmon.
Firstly, Bodanis' reason for transferring seems to be that he has a better shot at the NFL by playing at a major NCAA Division 1 school.
Secondly, he will face an adjustment to the college game in the U.S. Canadian football rules differ from American rules. In Canada, teams have just three downs to get a first down, meaning the offenses pass a lot more than they run. The field also is wider by 16 yards and longer by 10 yards, with endzones 20 yards in depth.
Perhaps the biggest adjustment will be playing with 11 men on defense, as in Canada, both sides have 12 players.
But, in size, Bodanis is comparable to current Spartan Tyler Hoover (6-7, 310 pounds). Hoover, who when healthy in 2012, was a solid playmaker in the run defense and provided a big body to plug the middle of the line and passing lanes.
I imagine this is what the staff sees in Bodanis and expects him to be.
His tape shows a good push off the line, but it is hard to tell the talent level of the teams he is playing against. At many points, the offensive line blocking is suspect -- at best. Regardless, Bodanis gets into the backfield with regularity and shows pretty good speed and agility of someone with his stature.
He has solid swim and spin moves, to compliment his best move -- the bull rush.
The most impressive thing to me about Bodanis is that he does play with a pretty decent pad level most of the time -- meaning he keeps lower than the offensive lineman, giving himself the leverage necessary to make plays in the backfield.
That said, with James Kittredge, Micajah Reynolds and Hoover returning -- though Hoover might see time at DE -- there is little reason to believe Bodanis will need to contribute right away. Add in Damon Knox, Mark Scarpitano and Brandon Clemons to the mix, and it makes sense that Bodanis will redshirt (which he might required to anyway).
Given a year to adjust to the style of play in the U.S., Bodanis should slide into Hoover's spot come 2014 and be a solid role player on the defensive line.
At this point, barring any surprises, the only remaining player the staff is looking to add is athlete Drake Martinez, who visited MSU last weekend. Given that he is the younger brother of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, and that the Cornhuskers just lost a safety commitment last weekend, I would be surprised if they don't pick up the heat on the younger Martinez and he winds up in Lincoln.
We will see. Signing day is a week from Wednesday.