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Welcome Aboard - Gerald Owens

Michigan State picks up its second commitment of the day Friday and fourth of the week in the form of a big tailback.

Leon Halip

Running back Gerald Owens, Westville, N.J. (West Deptford) - 6-foot-1, 245 pounds

Ratings: 247sports (4 stars), ESPN (4 stars), Rivals (3 stars), Scout (3 stars)

Notable offers: Florida State, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Michigan State and Le'Veon Bell found a lot of success together and the Spartans landed a verbal commitment from another big running back Friday.

West Deptford (N.J.) star Gerald Owens picked the Spartans over an impressive offer list.

The big back visited East Lansing in April. The key for Michigan State was offering Owens the chance to play running back -- the position which he wants to stick with at the college level.

Owens told ESPN's Jared Shanker exactly that Friday afternoon after making his verbal commitment.

Owens is the fourth commitment this week, joining Dayton (Ohio) Marshall cornerback Vayante Copeland, Orchard Lake St. Mary cornerback Jalen Watts-Jackson and Clarkston defensive tackle David Beedle.

He helped West Deptford High School to a 12-0 record and the Group II State Championship last year -- its second consecutive title.

The comparisons to former Michigan State big running backs are going to start right away, fair or not. Reality is, the success MSU had with Bell, Jehuu Caulcrick and T.J. Duckett played a part in this recruitment.

Owens might be most like Caulcrick of the group, as he appears more of a straight-ahead runner than a shifty Bell-type.

Owens does show the moves to juke and also to break off a run outside the tackles. Clearly, his biggest strength is his size and brute force with which he runs. He doesn't shy away from contact and can bounce off tacklers.

While speed isn't his game, Owens isn't a slouch with a reported 4.65 40-yard dash -- at more than 240 pounds.

Owens is the first running back in the class, but won't be the last. The Spartans will look to add a speed back to complement Owens -- with Niles (Ill.) Notre Dame Prep's Chris James still being the top target to pair with Owens.


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