The Michigan State Spartans had a hot recruiting month in June, with six recruits from the 2018 class committing to the program – Davion Williams, Dimitri Douglas, Zachary and Jacob Slade, Javez Alexander and Jeslord Boateng.
The latter, Jeslord Boateng, took the time to speak with me recently and he is next up in our Commitment Spotlight series. He is a three-star outside linebacker from Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio.
Dreams into a Reality.. pic.twitter.com/CqmrRWsiwH— Jeslord Boateng (@JeslordBoateng6) June 12, 2017
Boateng was the seventh recruit to commit in the 2018 class, which currently now stands at 12 – Trenton Gillison, Xavier Henderson, Theo Day, Michael Dowell, Christian Jackson and Edward Warinner round out the class in press time.
As usual, my first question asked Boateng why he decided on Michigan State.
“I've always loved Michigan State,” Boateng said. “And I’ve always wanted to play in the Big Ten, so as soon as they offered I knew I wanted to go there.”
Boateng is an athletic, speedy, outside linebacker who can get to quarterbacks. He started playing outside linebacker last season as a junior, but also has experience playing at defensive end as well.
Standing at 6-feet-2-inches tall, and weighing 215 pounds, Boateng is likely to stay put at outside linebacker – at either the SAM or STAR position – once he arrives in East Lansing.
“I see myself as a rush outside linebacker (at Michigan State),” Boateng said. “But if need be, I would be willing to switch to end.”
There is more to his game than just being a pass-rushing specialist, however. He is a player who understands his strengths and weaknesses and is dedicated to his craft.
“I'd say the best parts of my game are pass rushing, being able to change direction and being able to run sideline to sideline,” he said. “What I can improve on is probably dropping back in coverage.”
A big reason why Boateng is able to boast about certain aspects of his game, and a big reason why he finds himself in the position that he is currently in – a soon to be NCAA Division 1 football player – is because he had great teachers and support throughout the years.
He attributes a lot of his success to his coaches that he has had in high school and throughout his youth.
“My coaches have helped me tremendously to become a D-1 football player,” Boateng said. “They always told me I had the potential to be a D-1 football player, and as soon as they told me that, I didn't want to let them down. I started taking workouts more seriously and I think I have done a pretty good job with that.”
As I mentioned, two aspects of Boateng’s game that stick out are his speed and athleticism. A big reason why he is able to excel in those areas is because he is also a successful track runner.
He told me that he runs the 100-meter dash in 11.22 seconds and the 200-meter run in 22.78 seconds. The three-star prospect also is a part of the 4x1 and 4x2 relay teams at Dublin Coffman.
“Track has helped me a lot because it has helped me become more explosive and more conditioned.”
So far, the state of Ohio makes up two-thirds of the 2018 MSU recruiting class – eight of the 12 commitments. The only players who are not from Ohio are Day, Douglas and Williams, who are all from Michigan, and Jackson who plays his high school ball in Georgia.
Mark Dantonio has been plucking players out of the state to the south for a very long time. That’s not really a new revelation. However, it is a fascinating to see top prospects from Ohio continue to choose to wear the green and white during their college careers.
“I think what draws out-of-state kids to Michigan State is that they think they're being under-recruited by Ohio State, and (Michigan State has) made great players out of Ohio (prospects), so we think they can do the same for us.”
He has a point. Dantonio has done wonders with recruits who were not highly touted, especially from Ohio. Le’Veon Bell was a two-star coming out of Groveport Madison High School in Ohio. And that’s just one example of many.
While Boateng may have been overlooked by the Buckeyes, he did have more than 15 other offers, including several Big Ten schools. Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Kentucky, Louisville, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Western Michigan and a plethora of others extended an offer to Boateng.
Looking at recruiting rankings, Boateng is listed as the No. 76 linebacker in the 2018 class, and ranks 42nd in the state of Ohio overall, according to 247Sports. Rivals sees him as the No. 49 linebacker in the class and Scout ranks him as the fifth-best outside linebacker in the Buckeye State, and the eighth-best at his position in the entire Midwest.
Another question I like to ask incoming recruits is where they see the program heading in the future. Given the current struggles both on and off of the field, it is interesting to gauge the optimism and pride levels for future Spartan athletes. Boateng has nothing but positive vibes for the outlook of the Michigan State program as well.
Boateng also mentioned that he has a great relationship with Coach Dantonio and the rest of the staff, and that they keep in touch frequently. He has the utmost confidence in the staff and the team for 2017 and beyond.
“I've met the coaches there and I know they've got it under control,” he said. “In regard to their season last year: I don't think that'll happen again. This season they'll be back to being a top-25 team in the country and one of the best teams in the Big Ten, if not, the best.”
Boateng is actually one of the recruits in next year’s class I’m most looking forward to watching in the coming years. I feel like he is flying under the radar and can be a playmaker for the Spartans — with his ability to get to the quarterback and his sideline-to-sideline speed — in the future.
The 2018 class continues to fill up with student athletes who are ready to work hard and put the team first.
If you’ve missed our previous Commitment Spotlight articles, have no fear, check them out below:
- Four-star tight end, Trenton Gillison
- Three-star defensive back, Mike Dowell
- Three-star offensive tackle, Dimitri Douglas
Check out Boateng’s junior year highlights below (courtesy of his Hudl account).