This weekend, the Michigan State Spartans played host to one of the best defenders in the 2017 class.
Four-star cornerback Ambry Thomas took an unofficial visit to East Lansing on Sunday. Mark Dantonio was part of the visit, which led to a game of chess with Thomas and his mother, Carmen Thomas.
Thomas, a senior at Detroit Martin Luther King in Michigan, was offered by MSU during the Spartans’ 2015 spring game. They've been in heavy pursuit of the in-state star for over a year now, but so too have the Michigan Wolverines.
In fact, this recruitment is viewed as a two-horse race between the two rivals, according to Brian Dohn of Scout.com.
This is a classic in-state battle for an in-state kid. Michigan and Michigan State both, at various points, felt like they had the momentum. The Spartans have several former King Crusaders on their team and Thomas has built a great relationship with their staff.
However, Michigan signed fellow cornerback Lavert Hill from King last year and Thomas recently had a good visit for the Wolverines' BBQ.
Both schools have reason to feel confident about their chances with Thomas, and after he established himself as an elite national prospect at The Opening, that upped the interest in who will win this battle because it is clear he has a chance to be a difference maker as a college player.
According to Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider, the Wolverines made a big impression on both Thomas and his mother during the BBQ at the Big House, which may help explain why they are leading in his 247 Sports Crystal Ball.
Other schools who've offered Thomas include LSU, Iowa, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA and Wisconsin among many others.
All of the recruiting services are high on Thomas, who 247 Sports ranks as the 32nd-best prospect in 2017. They also have the 5-11, 175-pound DB as the No. 2 prospect from Michigan and the No. 3 corner in 2017. He's already earned a spot in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and he could be a five-star prospect by the time National Signing Day rolls around.
Even with Michigan ‘supposedly’ in the lead, I’m not betting against the best program from the The Great Lakes State for arguably the best in-state prospect. This is still Dantonio’s state, no matter how many jerseys Jim Harbaugh can wear.