Cornerback Josh Butler
Mesquite, Texas (West Mesquite)
between 5'10'' and 5'11'', between 160 and 175 pounds.
Scout- 4*, #232 overall; Rivals, ESPN, 24/7- 3*
Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Houston, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA, Washington
Thoughts on Offer List
It's sort of funny. Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Houston, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Washington represent an absolute murderer's row of brilliant offensive minds. And yet, Butler is almost certainly a CB and not a WR. So, how much credit do we give to offensive minded staffs who presumably know the type of player they'd like to avoid seeing on the other side of the ball, but who maybe don't have the best defensive records themselves?
This would be a much more interesting (and debatable) question in a case where Mark Dantonio and Harlon Barnett didn't give the recruit in question their personal stamp of approval. At that point, it's more of a fun quirk of the offer list, and you should happily assume Butler is basically going to be dang good.
Thoughts on Film
How dang good? Well, only time will tell with these things, but do yourself a favor and watch that highlight tape.
Intrigued? I was.
He spends a lot of time matched up one-on-one, with little safety help. He spends a good amount of snaps in press coverage. His use of his hands to control the receiver seems well beyond his years. And, finally, his ability to play the ball in the air seems strong. In short, he looks like a prototypical MSU cornerback, with the added bonus that he hasn't even gotten onto campus yet. It seems apparent that the pass-happy nature of Texas football has co-evolved their secondary play right alongside the quarterbacks and wide-receivers.
Maybe his back-pedal looks a little funky. Maybe you'd like him to be an inch taller, or see some more film of him in run support. But the coverage skills and schematic fit appear to be there right now. Looks like MSU plucked a talented CB out of the Lone Star state.
Outlook on the Rest of the Class
Butler is the 10th commit in the Spartan's 2015 class and the second pure cornerback alongside OLSM's Tyson Smith. I'd imagine you'll see one more 6'1''-6'2'' type athlete in this class who could potentially flip between CB/S if they aren't assigned on offense. With that said I'd be a little surprised to see another 'pure' CB. Spartan wide receiver's coach Terrence Samuel has been carpeting Texas with offers for years now, and despite sporadic interest (and one 'commit that wasn't') Butler represents his first commit from the state, and the Spartan's first since Nick Foles way back in 2007.
Michigan State's near impeccable defensive secondary scouting looks set to pay off again with the Smith/Butler duo in the years down the line. Congratulations Josh, and welcome to MSU!