Tight end Matt Sokol, Rochester, Mich. (Adams) - 6-foot-5, 225 pounds
Ratings: 247sports (unranked), Rivals (unranked), Scout (unranked), ESPN (unranked)
Notable offers: Wisconsin, Illinois
Tight end is an important position in the Michigan State offense and it also is a big one for the 2014 class.
On Monday, the Spartans picked up a verbal commitment from Rochester Adams tight end Matt Sokol, just 10 days after he received an offer from MSU.
When it came down to it, Sokol felt Michigan State was the perfect fit for him.
"This weekend I sat down with my family and came to the conclusion this is the best fit for me," Sokol said. "It is the best opportunity to develop as a player and as a tight end. I cannot wait to work with Coach (Mark) Dantonio and Coach (Jim) Bollman, who are good at producing successful tight ends and and a successful program.
"I have the utmost respect for coaches and everyone at MSU. Everyone is so down to Earth and real, but at the same time, they demand a lot from you. It's going to take hard work, but I'm really excited."
After deciding over the weekend, Sokol and his mom drove to East Lansing after school Monday so she could see the facilities and the campus for the first time in a while -- and with a football focus.
"We got to meet more of the coaches and Coach (Brad) Salem showed us around the facilities, which my mom hadn't seen," Sokol said.
After the tour, Sokol had good news to deliver to Dantonio.
"We sat down with Coach Dantonio and my mom and I told him I wanted to be a Spartan," Sokol said. "My mom stated crying and everyone was excited. Coach Dantonio really is just a great people person and a great coach.
"One thing he said really stuck with me, 'When kids commit, it is about building strong relationships and player-coach relationships.' There are ups and down in every program, and relationships are so important. I am excited to play for him one day."
It didn't take long for others to be excited about the good news.
"I had only been committed for a few hours and all my future teammates were adding me on Facebook," Sokol said, "and that just makes me even more confident and excited about my decision."
@mattsokol9 S/O to my newest teammate welcome to the spartan family— Brian Allen (@bcallen65) May 14, 2013
@mattsokol9 welcome to the family bro!! #GoGreen— Jon Reschke (@J_Reschke33) May 13, 2013
"@mattsokol9: Verbally committed to Michigan State University! #Spartans #GoGreen"welcome home!!— RIP(@Primetime_8) May 13, 2013
@mattsokol9 congrats bro welcome to the family!! #GoGreen— Damion Terry (@DamionTerry) May 13, 2013
Sokol is an interesting prospect, with an equally interesting recruitment. He is a tight end at the college level, but for his high school, he plays quarterback -- thus, he is listed as an "athlete" by most recruiting services.
As far as his position in high school this year goes, there is potential that Adams will work in some sets for him at tight end, but he said, "It depends on what is best for the team. It isn't all about me. I am really looking forward to getting the team back on track and having a really good season. It is weird, but I still have another season and I need to focus on this team."
What Sokol shows at quarterback is the athleticism and the fact that he is a good football player, and the attitude of being a team-first guy.
Sokol plays tight end for Michigan Elite in 7-on-7 (the highlights above).
As a tight end, Sokol flashes great ball skills downfield and good elusiveness. He has the quickness to get open, but also makes good catches in traffic. He shows good hands and runs pretty sound routes -- the footwork and speed are very good in the 7-on-7 film. (Also see this workout video that showcases his footwork and downfield ability.)
Naturally, the one thing you don't see in 7-on-7 is blocking. That is the obvious question mark when it comes to moving a high school quarterback to tight end (he did play TE/DE on varsity as a sophomore). That said, Sokol has the frame to be a very physical blocker and has experience as a DE, so hitting and being hit isn't going to be new. More importantly, he has an eagerness to learn and wants to soak everything up he can -- what more can you want.
As some will like, it also opens possibilities for trick plays in the future, too, with his ability to throw the ball.
All things considered, Sokol has a very high ceiling and is a kid who talks about his love for the game. He has the physical tools and desire to learn and compete.
Sokol brings the class of 2014 to seven commits, joining Cass Tech's Deon Drake and Traverse City St. Francis' Byron Bullough as in-state commits to MSU.