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Michigan State Football: 2021 Early Signing Day Tracker

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 05 Ohio State at Michigan State Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The early National Signing Day period is open!

The Michigan State Spartans have already signed several previously committed players, and will add more throughout the day. Not every player committed to the class will sign today — the true National Signing Day is Feb. 3, 2021 and some recruits may wait until then. Others may decide to flip to another school, while a prospect (or multiple) who was not previously committed to MSU could decide to announce their intention to come to East Lansing. It’s all part of the excitement and intrigue.

We’re tracking all of the recruiting news in this live post, which we will updated throughout the day. Below you will find a list of players who have already signed, as well as those who are committed but have not officially signed yet. Please note star ratings and player rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite metrics.

Flipped from USC (and signed):

Ma’a Gaoteote, linebacker

Status: Signed

  • High School: Bishop Gorman (Nevada)
  • Rating: four-star
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 230 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 11 outside linebacker
  • State rank: No. 2 prospect in Nevada
  • Overall rank: No. 155 nationally
  • Other notable offers: USC (was committed to the Trojans since 2018), Oregon, Washington, Ole Miss, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas State, Kansas, San Diego State

Tucker on Gaoteote: “Ma’a has really good size, build and bulk; he’s very instinctive and tough. He is the QB of the defense, and he plays with good balance and body control. He’s got a good burst to close, and he can anticipate, key in on and diagnose the play. He is constantly one step ahead of the play. He will strike you and does a good job of fi nishing plays when he makes contact, shows he has three-down value, and is good on the second level playing laterally.”

Read more on Gaoteote here.


Graduate Transfer

Anthony Russo, quarterback

  • Last School: Temple
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 240 pounds
  • Career Stats (at Temple): 60 percent completion percentage (536 of 899), 6,292 yards, 44 touchdown passes, 32 interceptions, seven rushing touchdowns.

As a recruit (class of 2016):

  • Rating: three-star
  • Position rank: No. 25 pro-style quarterback
  • State rank: No. 15 prospect in Pennsylvania
  • Overall rank: No. 655 nationally
  • Other notable offers: Temple (signed with the Owls), Buffalo, Connecticut, Bucknell, Monmouth

For more on Russo, read here.


Transfer

Harold Joiner III, running back, Auburn

  • Last School: Auburn
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 215 pounds
  • Career Stats (at Auburn): 15 carries, 103 rushing yards (6.9 yards per carry), two rushing touchdowns, six catches 128 yards (21.3 yards per catch) and one receiving touchdown.

As a recruit (class of 2018):

  • Rating: four-star
  • Position rank: No. 5 running back
  • State rank: No. 4 prospect in Alabama
  • Overall rank: No. 152 nationally
  • Other notable offers: Auburn (signed), Alabama, LSU, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina, Indiana, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, UCF and several others

For more on Joiner, read here.


Signed:

Geno VanDeMark, offensive guard

Status: Signed

  • High School: St. Joseph Regional (New Jersey)
  • Rating: three-star (recently bumped down from a four-star in the Composite rankings)
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 315 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 21 guard
  • State rank: No. 8 prospect in New Jersey
  • Overall rank: No. 434 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Tennessee, Miami (FL.), West Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue, Louisville, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Oklahoma State, Kansas and many others

Charles Brantley, cornerback

Status: Signed

  • High School: Venice (Florida)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 160 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 38 cornerback
  • State rank: No. 72 prospect in Florida
  • Overall rank: No. 508 nationally
  • Other notable offers: Florida State, Louisville, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Indiana, Maryland, Washington State, Boston College, Duke, Coastal Carolina and others

Tucker on Brantley: “Chuck is fast, quick, explosive, tough and just highly competitive. He has a big time burst to close, and can cover a lot of ground quickly. I love his effort and passion, he doesn’t back down from anyone and is primarily lined up on the opponent’s best wide receiver.”


A.J. Kirk, safety

Status: Signed (plans to enroll early)

  • High School: Archbishop Hoban (Ohio)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 190 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 46 safety
  • State rank: No. 21 prospect in Ohio
  • Overall rank: No. 589 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame, Penn State, Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Purdue, West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona State, Cincinnati and others

Mel Tucker on Kirk: “AJ is an extremely tough, fast, physical, aggressive tackler, and he’s a disruptive and effective blitzer off the edge. I love his instincts and awareness in the box, he plays with good vision and feel, and he has a quick burst to close. He is a physical, wrap-up tackler, but he also has the athletic ability to play press-man coverage in the slot, he’s just an eraser that loves to run and hit. I coached his older brother, Mike (Doss), at Ohio State, and they have a lot of similarities.”


Ethan Boyd, offensive tackle

Status: Signed (plans to enroll early)

  • High School: East Lansing (Michigan)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6’7”
  • Weight: 295 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 50 offensive tackle
  • State rank: No. 16 prospect in Michigan
  • Overall rank: No. 657 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Toledo, Ohio and others

Mel Tucker on Boyd: “Ethan is a local product and we’re excited to have him stay home in East Lansing. He’s very big, long and athletic and a dominant force at tackle. He’s shown great athletic ability as a pass protector and as a run blocker, you will see him in space and shows he can really run.”


Tyson Watson, defensive end

Status: Signed

  • High School: Warren Mott (Michigan)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 275 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 46 strong-side defensive end
  • State rank: No. 18 prospect in Michigan
  • Overall rank: No. 734 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Purdue, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Iowa State, Syracuse and others

Mel Tucker on Watson: “Tyson has great size and length for a defensive lineman. He’s tall, long and powerful, and he’s a smart, consistent player with big-time potential. He’s got good build, bulk and strength, and can push the pocket with power and instincts. He knows how to get to an edge of a blocker and be disruptive in the backfield, and he also has the lateral strength and stoutness to stay square at the line of scrimmage. I love his length and build, you just can’t have enough of these big guys in your program.


Derrick Harmon, defensive tackle

Status: Signed

  • High School: Loyola (Michigan)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 350 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 58 defensive tackle
  • State rank: No. 28 prospect in Michigan
  • Overall rank: No. 966 nationally
  • Other notable offers: Purdue, Ole Miss, Memphis, Central Michigan, Ball State, Southern Mississippi, Alabama State, Alabama A&M

Mel Tucker on Harmon: “Derrick is just a giant human being, he occupies four hands to block him, he’s just massive in the middle and is a dancing bear as a pass rusher, but he is a very athletic player for his size. He is a man amongst boys, and he can win with power and strength as well as quickness and suddenness. He showed quick hands and a solid tool belt of pass rush moves, showed lateral strength and quickness as a run defender and really controlled the line of scrimmage on first and second down.”


Alex Okelo, defensive end

Status: Signed

  • High School: Pearl-Cohn (Tennessee)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 215 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 54 weak-side defensive end
  • State rank: No. 26 prospect in Tennessee
  • Overall rank: No. 983 nationally
  • Other notable offers: Florida State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas, UTSA

Mel Tucker on Okelo: “Alex is very long and lean, and has tremendous initial quickness and burst. He’s got big-time upside, especially as a pass rusher; he can bend and run and shows great natural ability to get to the quarterback, and he has good speed to chase down ball carriers from the backside, while his length allows him to recover quickly and get ball carriers down.”


Davion Primm, running back

Status: Signed

  • High School: Oak Park (Michigan)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6‘1”
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 61 running back
  • State rank: No. 30 prospect in Michigan
  • Overall rank: No. 1,073 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Colorado, Iowa State, Temple. Toledo, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and others

Mel Tucker on Primm: “Davion was our fi rst commitment and he has great foot quickness, burst, acceleration, and vision; he’s a strong runner, with good balance and body control. He shows he can be a home run threat when he gets to the second level, and has natural running ability to fi nd creases and holes as he attacks the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t go down on fi rst contact and will fi ght for extra yards.”


Michael Gravely Jr., safety

Status: Signed (plans to enroll early)

  • High School: Euclid (Ohio)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6‘1”
  • Weight: 195 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 93 safety
  • State rank: No. 47 prospect in Michigan
  • Overall rank: No. 1,092 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: West Virginia, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Toledo, Temple, Buffalo and others

Mel Tucker on Gravely: “Michael is long and athletic; he’s instinctive, tough, physical and fast. He’s got a very smooth change of direction, and he can effortlessly turn and run with defenders in man coverage and not panic with his back to the ball. He’s a strong, physical wrap tackler that doesn’t back down from contact.”


Hampton Fay, quarterback

Status: Signed (plans to enroll early)

  • High School: All Saints Episcopal (Texas)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6‘6”
  • Weight: 230 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 39 pro-style quarterback
  • State rank: No. 170 prospect in Texas
  • Overall rank: No. 1,116 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Ole Miss, Indiana, Illinois, Rutgers, Colorado, Boise State, Boston College, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Houston, Tulane, Louisiana, Liberty

Mel Tucker on Fay: “Hamp is a big, tall, long, athletic and versatile quarterback and he has the arm strength to make all the throws, he shows poise and patience in the pocket, and can really step up and zip the ball in there. He has the athletic ability to extend plays with his feet and shows the athletic ability to hurdle defenders on the second level. He is a big-time leader and shows he can make plays on third down.”


Antoine Booth II, cornerback

Status: Signed

  • High School: DeMatha Catholic (Maryland)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 5‘11”
  • Weight: 175 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 103 cornerback
  • State rank: No. 30 prospect in Maryland
  • Overall rank: No. 1,180 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Maryland, Virginia, Buffalo, Temple, Massachusetts

Mel Tucker on Booth: “Antoine has good size, build and bulk, and he shows good, reactive athleticism and ball skills. He shows that he won’t panic with his back to the ball in man coverage and is disruptive at the high point. He plays with good balance and body control, and is versatile as an inside and outside DB. He will add a great deal of versatility value to our DB room.”


Kameron Allen, tight end

Status: Signed

  • High School: North Forney (Texas)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 66 tight end
  • State rank: No. 192 prospect in Texas
  • Overall rank: No. 1,269 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Arizona, Missouri, North Carolina State, Hawaii, Air Force, Navy, Boise State, Utah State, New Mexico State, Connecticut, North Texas and many others

Mel Tucker on Allen: “Kameron is a tall, long and athletic tight end that was very productive this fall as a pass catching threat. He’s got a wide catch radius, with soft hands, and he can extend and pluck, and he shows a great play-making ability once the ball is in his hands. They have isolated him on the outside and he has really sharpened his route-running skills, and is a big time threat in the red zone with eight TDs this year.”


Brandon Baldwin, offensive tackle

Status: Signed

  • High School: Southfield A&T (Michigan)
  • Last school: Independence Community College (Kansas)
  • Rating: three-star junior college transfer
  • Height: 6‘7”
  • Weight: 315 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 5 JUCO transfer offensive tackle
  • State rank: No. 12 JUCO prospect in Michigan
  • Overall rank: No. 41 JUCO prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Maryland, Louisville, Eastern Michigan, Liberty, Western Illinois, Missouri State

Mel Tucker on Baldwin: “We’re excited to be bringing a Michigan player back home. Brandon is very tall, long, and athletic offensive lineman. He’s really improved on his physicality during his time at Independence Junior College, and he shows toughness and finish as a run blocker and has great athletic ability, patience and anchors down as a pass blocker. He’s also played basketball in high school, so he has good footwork.”


Kevin Wigenton, offensive guard

Status: Signed

  • High School: Hun School (New Jersey)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6‘5”
  • Weight: 295 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 67 guard
  • State rank: No. 28 prospect in New Jersey
  • Overall rank: No. 1,397 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Tennessee, Indiana, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Colorado State, Toledo, Yale and others

Tucker on Wigenton: “Kevin is probably one of the most improved players from his junior to senior year; he really worked this summer to get his body right so he could play with more athletic ability and fl exibility. He’s played both guard and tackle this fall, which shows he can be a factor on the second level. He’s got good seek-and-adjust on his pulls, and runs his feet upon contact. He has a very stout anchor to stop the push of the pocket and has very athletic feet to slide and adjust in pass protection. He is smart, plays with good instincts and plays to the whistle.”


Steffan Johnson, cornerback

Status: Signed

  • High School: Venice (Florida)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6‘0”
  • Weight: 170 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 137 cornerback
  • State rank: No. 217 prospect in Florida
  • Overall rank: No. 1,576 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Virginia, Rutgers, South Florida, Florida Atlantic, Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and others

Mel Tucker on Johnson: “Steffan is fast, electric and very long; he’s instinctive and generates production on both sides of the ball. He’s played nearly every position except for offensive line and defensive line in high school; at one point or another he’s played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, corner and safety. He is very dynamic with the ball in his hands and shows effortless acceleration when running away from defenders.”


Carson Casteel, linebacker

Status: Signed

  • High School: Florence (Alabama)
  • Rating: three-star
  • Height: 6‘3”
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 77 inside linebacker
  • State rank: No. 74 prospect in Alabama
  • Overall rank: No. 1,725 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Kansas, Memphis, Army, Navy, Troy, Appalachian State, Southern Mississippi, Western Kentucky and others

Mel Tucker on Casteel: “Carson is tall, long and athletic; he’s versatile and strong at the point of attack, with very good range and instincts. He doesn’t back down from contact and can really strike with his hands. I really love his versatility as both a run defender and pass defender.”


De-Commit

Audric Estime, running back

Status: Signed with Notre Dame

  • High School: St. Joseph Regional (New Jersey)
  • Rating: four-star
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 215 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 12 running back
  • State rank: No. 3 prospect in New Jersey
  • Overall rank: No. 244 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Notre Dame (signed), Texas A&M, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Maryland, Rutgers, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, West Virginia and many others

UPDATE (Feb. 3, 2021): Rayshaun Benny, defensive tackle

Status: Signed with Michigan in February

  • High School: Oak Park (Michigan)
  • Rating: four-star
  • Height: 6‘5”
  • Weight: 275 pounds
  • Position rank: No. 16 defensive tackle
  • State rank: No. 6 prospect in Michigan
  • Overall rank: No. 194 prospect nationally
  • Other notable offers: Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Notre Dame, Oregon, Miami (FL), Texas A&M, USC, Florida State, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa and many others

Michigan State has also added Flint Powers Catholic offensive guard Logan Murray as a preferred walk-on. Murray received scholarship offers from Syracuse, Ohio, Akron, Florida International, Liberty, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, but is taking his talents to East Lansing in a walk-on role.

Michigan State also added long snapper Hank Pepper to the 2021 class. The Spartans offered Pepper, out of Chandler, Arizona, a scholarship. He is considered a five-star long snapper by Kohl’s Kicking and ranked as the No. 1 long snapper in the 2021 class, according to 247Sports. He has no relation to former MSU long snapper Taybor Pepper

Australian punter Mark Vassett is no longer listed as a commit, according to 247Sports. That is something to keep an eye on.


Coach Tucker’s Remarks on Early Signing Class


This post was first published on Wednesday morning (Dec. 16) and will be updated throughout the week. For more on each recruit, please read Michigan State’s complete media packet on MSUSpartans.com.