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Recruiting Watch: Several prospects to visit East Lansing this weekend

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This is a huge opportunity for Michigan State football recruiting

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

We all know how big this weekend is on the gridiron for the 2017 season, and while Michigan State’s performance on the field is key, its hospitality toward its guests is equally as important.

The Spartans will tango with Notre Dame in a prime-time matchup on Saturday night, and several prospects from 2018, 2019 and even 2020 will be in attendance.

The biggest name on the list of expected visitors in East Lansing this weekend is Harold Joiner. The 2018 four-star running back from Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, Alabama has been a top-target for the Spartans for quite a while now, and running back is a huge position of need for Michigan State.

Earlier this summer, Joiner — the No. 5 running back in the 247Sports Composite — pegged Sept. 23 as the day he planed to visit campus. He also said that Michigan State was at the top of his list back in June.

Joiner’s head coach, Chris Yeager, told Land of 10 that he still believes Joiner will be making his way north to EL this weekend for his official visit.

“As far as I know, he is (taking his official visit),” Mountain Brook coach Chris Yeager told Land of 10. “It’s my understanding that he is.”

Land of 10 also reported that during the bye week last week, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Dave Warner went down to Birmingham to see Joiner. Coach Yeager has said time and again that Joiner is all about relationships, so that kind of sentiment should bode well for the Spartans.

The Spartans need to pull out all of the stops this week for Joiner, and “show the king his castle” to convince him to become a Spartan — especially with LSU hot on his heels.

Update, 9/22: According to 247Sports, Harold Joiner has cancelled his visit to East Lansing this weekend. This is devastating news for the Spartans.

Another big recruit will be on campus. Cass Tech’s four-star cornerback, Kalon Gervin — the No. 3 player in the state of Michigan and No. 22 cornerback in the nation — will also attend.

Gervin actually de-committed from Notre Dame back in May, so it is interesting that this is the game he will be attending. The Spartans have been in the mix ever since his de-commitment. Gervin named a top-five of Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Louisville and Virginia Tech earlier this summer, but the Hookies are the favorite to land him.

The 2018 class already has four solid defensive backs in Xavier Henderson, Michael Dowell, Davion Williams and Christian Jackson. Gervin would be the gem of the group however, and make this recruiting class a very good one for the Spartans.

Additionally, 247Sports shows that four other members of the 2018 class will take their official visits to Michigan State this weekend: four-star offensive tackle James Ohonba and three-star defensive tackles Allen Love, Dejmi Dumervil Jean and Jackson Cravens. None of whom are local prospects, either.

Ohonba is a Stockbridge, Georgia product (Woodland High School), and the 24th-ranked offensive tackle in the nation. Offensive line coach Mark Staten visited him last week. He is being courted by Alabama, Notre Dame, Duke, Clemson, Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU and several other programs.

Love and Dumervil Jean are interesting because they are both committed to other schools. Love committed to Ole Miss in June, while Dumervil Jean pledged to Louisville in the same month. Similarly to Joiner, Love is also coming to EL from Birmingham, Alabama.

There is a Spartans connection for Dumervil Jean, as Michigan State freshman defensive end Lashawn Paulino-Bell was his teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida.

Cravens is the most likely candidate of the three defensive tackles to become a Spartan. The Provo, Utah prospect is not yet committed, and seems to be favoring either Michigan State or Utah.

Also, Michigan State’s Mufi Hill-Hunt (redshirt freshman defensive end) and Cravens are cousins and Hill-Hunt has been pushing for Cravens to come to Spartyland. Cravens ranks at No. 48 defensive tackle in the 247Sports Composite.

It is clear that Michigan State wants to soon land an interior defensive linemen from the 2018 class — a position the Spartans do not have yet.

The 2018 class isn’t the only one that will be in abundance come Friday and Saturday. Some younger recruits will be on campus as well.

Detroit Martin Luther King wide receiver Rashawn Williams, one of the Midwest’s most highly-touted sophomores, will be in attendance. Williams doesn’t graduate until 2020, but he has six offers already — including one from Ohio State.

Cass tech safety, Ormondell Dingle, will visit with the Spartans this weekend as well. Dingle is a member of the 2019 class and has five offers so far, including Central Michigan, Washington State and Syracuse.

An underclassmen quarterback will also be hanging out in Ingham County this weekend. Two-star signal-caller, and highly productive player, Ben Slaton is set to visit campus. Slaton, class of 2019, has two offers from Indiana State and Illinois State at the moment.

The class of 2019 isn’t done yet for this weekend. Not even close. But one more I will mention is three-star tight end Hayden Rucci. Rucci is currently ranked as the No. 13 tight end in the Composite rankings and the No. 6 player in the state of Pennsylvania for 2019.

Other prospects expected to be on campus this weekend:

  • Three-star wide receiver Kory Taylor, class of 2018 (Hilliard, Ohio)
  • Four-star defensive end Malik Vann, class of 2018, committed to Cincinnati (Fairfield, Ohio)
  • Three-star running back Elijah Collins, class of 2018 (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Four-star quarterback Dwan Mathis, class of 2019 (Oak Park, Michigan)
  • Four-star running back Jaren Mangham, class of 2019 (Detroit, Michigan)

Michigan State is considered the heavy favorite for both Collins and Mathis.

With dozens of recruits coming into town this weekend, this is likely the biggest recruiting weekend of the year for the Spartans. Keep a close eye on the Michigan State recruiting scene after this weekend.

Update, 9/22: In more positive news for the Spartans (after the Joiner cancellation), five-star offensive tackle Devontae Dobbs will make a return visit to East Lansing on Saturday.

Next week, three-star Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) center Jacob Isaia — grandson of former Michigan State star Bob Apisa — will visit campus. Apisa is getting inducted into the MSU Hall of Fame and Isaia will be there to see it, as well as watch the Spartans take on Iowa. Isaia is the No. 15 center in the 2018 class.