The Spartans are looking strong at the running back position in 2017, with L.J. Scott, Madre London and Gerald Holmes. But Holmes is a senior and Scott and London are both juniors. With a good campaign, Scott could very well enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Currently, the 2018 recruiting class already boasts 15 commits, but only five of which are expected to play offense. And exactly zero of the prospects are running backs. There are two freshmen tailbacks on the roster — Weston Bridges (three-star recruit) and Connor Heyward (recruited as a three-star athlete). The 2016 class had zero commits at the position.
The running back group is going to be awfully thin next year, especially if Scott decides to leave early. It is quite possibly the biggest position of need for the Spartans in the future.
So where do the Spartans go from here? Perhaps things are finally looking up.
Michigan State is on the radar of two four-star prospects. The Spartans rank high on the list for Ronnie Walker, the No. 13 running back in the country according to the 247Sports Composite.
Michigan State is not only in Walker’s top-10, though, as he recently told Land of 10’s Luke Srodulski that MSU is among the top of the list.
“Michigan State and Indiana. Those are my top two schools right now.”
It is important to note that Virginia should not be ruled out. Walker is a Virginia-native and his 247Sports Crystal Ball Prediction still shows a 100 percent chance of commitment to UVA. But, by all accounts, it seems that Walker himself is leaning toward the Big Ten after his unofficial visits in the Midwest.
The other four-star the Spartans hope to land is Harold Joiner. Joiner plays at Mountain Brook High School in Alabama and is the No. 6 running back in the nation.
Joiner is built like a tank at 6-feet-3-inches tall and nearly 220 pounds. The MSU coaching staff has kept in touch with Joiner using FaceTime.
Per 247Sports, Joiner had this to say about his relationship with the program:
"I talk to Coach (Mark) Dantonio, (Terry) Samuel, (Dave) Warner, and (Ron) Burton," Joiner said. "I talk a lot on FaceTime with the MSU coaches. They tell me that I have the ability to play as a freshman and be their guy."
Joiner said that Michigan State was at the top of his list in June. He plans to visit soon and attend a couple of game this season. Joiner would be a huge get for the Spartans.
He tweeted out his top-six earlier, and Michigan State is up against perennial power house, Alabama, and more.
Another running back recruit who the Spartans have a real chance of acquiring is U of D Jesuit’s Elijah Collins. Collins is a three-star prospect who ranks first at the position in the state of Michigan and No. 56 nationally, per the 247 Composite.
On Monday, Collins tweeted out his top-six. Michigan State was included with Iowa, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Purdue and Mississippi State.
His Crystal Ball Prediction currently projects the Spartans at 100 percent. With that said, Collins has said that he wants to take his time with the recruitment process.
One other name to watch is three-star running back DeMarcus Townsend from Naples, Florida. Townsend recently received an offer from the Spartans. He plans to reveal his top-eight schools in the near future, and Michigan State should almost certainly be on that list.
Top 8 coming soon ‼️— DeMarcus Townsend (@DTownsend21) August 8, 2017
Update: Michigan State was indeed on Townsend’s top-eight list.
Michigan State is rebuilding, and it must bring in running back recruits as soon as possible to build a foundation in the backfield and work toward success in the future.