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Michigan State Football Recruiting Updates: Weathering the storm through unprecedented times

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In an unusual time, Mel Tucker and the MSU staff continue to hit the recruiting trail hard, albeit in a creative way. Here is a recap of who has been offered recently.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, these are strange times we find ourselves in. The Michigan State Spartans football program should be finishing up its second week of spring practices. But the majority of players are back at their permanent residences and the coaches are working from home as campus is shut down from face-to-face interactions due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On the recruiting trail, this time would normally be a “quiet period,” which would allow for face-to-face contact with on-campus recruits. But amidst the pandemic, the Big Ten Conference announced all organized team activities will be suspended until at least April 6, along with both on-and-off campus recruiting activities.

Update: The Big Ten has extended the moratorium on all team activities through at least May 4.

So where does that leave new head coach Mel Tucker and his staff in his recruiting efforts?

“We’re relentlessly recruiting electronically with texts, emails, receiving calls, making sure that our prospects understand that they’re a priority for us and that we care about their health and well-being also,” Tucker said in an interview with the Spartans Sports Network last week, (quote via MLive).

Tucker also mentioned that the staff has been using the Zoom application to hold offensive, defensive and special teams meetings, and even for strength and conditioning workouts with the players to keep them in shape.

Tucker’s biggest concern is of course the safety and health of the players, coaches, staff members and everybody involved:

“We’re worried about our student-athletes, their physical, their emotional, their mental health at this time. When our players are here on campus, we can see them, we can look at them eye-to-eye, we can work with them and we know what services we have for them here on campus for a laundry list of potential issues. Right now, they’re not here. They’re scattered about, they’re back at their permanent homes.”

As far as recruiting for the 2021 class goes, Tucker and the Spartans staff continue to send out offers electronically and haven’t shied away from going after some highly-touted targets. Tucker and company have also been hitting states outside of Michigan very hard.

While Mark Dantonio’s teams were often built on under-the-radar recruits who he was able develop, Tucker and his staff look to usher in a new era, which will certainly lead to some more heralded recruits.

While Michigan State does not yet have any verbal commitments from the 2021 class, there are plenty of offers out there. In a normal year, we could expect the first player or two to commit around this time — MSU got its first commitment in late-February last year (Dallas Fincher) and its second in mid-March (Tommy Guajardo). But everything is up in the air right now due to the coronavirus.

In any event, let’s update where MSU is with its recruiting efforts. Here is a list of players Michigan State has recently offered, broken down by position (these are in no particular order and ranking numbers are based on either the 247Sports’ Composite or 247Sports’ own rankings):

Quarterbacks:

  • Tyler Macon (offered on March 22), three-star, East St. Louis High School (Illinois): No. 19 dual-threat QB, No. 21 in Illinois, No. 625 nationally (Composite — currently committed to Missouri)
  • Kaidon Salter (offered on Feb. 23), four-star, Cedar Hill High School (Texas): No. 10 dual-threat QB, No. 39 in Texas, No. 244 nationally (Composite)
  • Hampton Fay (offered on Feb. 18), three-star quarterback, All Saints Episcopal (Texas): No. No. 36 pro-style QB, No. 140 in Texas, No. 993 nationally (Composite)
  • Peter Costelli (offered on Feb. 18), four-star quarterback, Mission Viejo High School (California): No. 9 dual-threat QB, No. 22 in California, No. 241 nationally (Composite)

-While it seems like a long shot for Michigan State to land him at this point, another quarterback expected to announce his decision in April (that may change given the current climate) is highly-coveted four-star quarterback Garrett Nussmeier out of Texas. He has ties to MSU, as his dad coached for the Spartans and other family members attended the school. He was originally offered by Dantonio and his staff in May of 2019.


Running Backs:

  • AJ Green (offered on March 20), four-star running back/cornerback, Union High School (Oklahoma): No. 14 cornerback, No. 2 in Oklahoma, No. 196 nationally (Composite) — likely being recruited as running back by MSU.
  • JP Martin (offered on March 24), three-star running back, Cy Falls High School (Texas): No. 34 running back, No. 82 in Texas, N/A nationally (247)
  • Roman Hemby (offered on March 16), three-star running back/athlete, John Carroll School (Maryland): No. 96 running back, No. 37 in Maryland, No. 1,137 nationally (Composite)
  • Justin Johnson Jr. (offered on March 17), three-star running back, Edwardsville (Illinois): No. 26 running back, No. 8 in Illinois, No. 363 nationally (Composite)
  • Gabe Ervin (offered on March 20), three-star running back, Buford High School (Georgia): No. 46 running back, No. 49 in Georgia, No. 603 nationally (Composite)
  • Tavierre Dunlap (offered on March 22), three-star running back, Del Valle High School (Texas): No. 25 running back, No. 52 in Texas, No. 359 nationally (Composite)

Wide Receivers:

  • Dont’e Thornton Jr. (offered on March 22), four-star wide receiver, Mount Saint Joseph High School (Maryland): No. 6 wide receiver, No. 2 in Maryland, No. 47 nationally (Composite)
  • Keon Coleman (offered on March 18), four-star wide receiver, Opelousas Catholic School (Louisiana): No. 40 wide receiver, No. 7 in Louisiana, No. 233 nationally (Composite)
  • Armond Scott (offered on March 19), three-star wide receiver, Euclid High School (Ohio): No. 149 wide receiver, No. 34 in Ohio, N/A nationally (247Sports)

-MSU also recently offered a pair of 2022 four-star wide receivers in Darrius Clemons out of (Westview High School, Oregon) and Samuel Mbake (IMG Academy, Florida)

-Three-star wide receiver Markus Allen (Northmont High School, Ohio)— who was actually offered by Dantonio and his staff right before Dantonio’s sudden retirement— recently named Michigan State in his top-10 on March 17, but is keeping all options open as of now:

-Four star-athlete, Zakee Wheatley (Archbishop Spalding, Maryland) recently included Michigan State in his top-eight. Wheatley can play wide receiver or defensive back.


Tight Ends:

  • Lake McRee (offered on March 13), three-star tight end, Lake Travis High School (Texas): No. 19 tight end, No. 61 in Texas, No. 459 nationally (Composite)
  • Mitchell Evans (offered on March 4), three-star tight end, Wadsworth (Ohio): No. 24 tight end, No. 16 in Ohio, N/A nationally (247Sports)
  • Ryan Hoerstkamp (offered on March 24), three-star tight end, Washington High School (Missouri): No. 45 tight end, No. 17 in Missouri, No. 944 nationally (Composite)
  • Kameron Allen (offered on March 24), three-star tight end, North Forney (Texas) High School: No. 47 tight end, No. 142 in Texas, No. 995 nationally (Composite)
  • Quentin Moore (JUCO prospect offered on March 18) Independence Community College (Kansas), currently unranked but holds sever Power Five offers

Offensive Linemen:

  • Broderick Wisecarver (offered on March 24), four-star offensive lineman, De Smet Jesuit High School (Missouri): No. 19 offensive guard, No. 4 in Missouri, No. 342 nationally (Composite)
  • Ethan Boyd (offered on March 16), three-star offensive tackle, East Lansing High School (Michigan): No. 104 offensive tackle, No. 29 in Michigan, No. 342 nationally (247Sports)
  • Jager Burton (offered on March 23), four-star offensive guard, Frederick Douglass High School (Kentucky): No. 8 offensive guard, No. 1 in Kentucky, No. 156 nationally (Composite)
  • Geno VandeMark (offered on March 21), four-star offensive guard, St. Joseph Regional (New Jersey): No. 13 guard, No. 4 in New Jersey, No. 232 nationally (Composite) — his grandfather played for MSU in the 1960s
  • David Wholabaugh (offered on March 19), three-star offensive tackle, Walsh Jesuit (Ohio): No. 69 tackle, No. 29 in Ohio, No. 745 nationally (Composite — verbally committed to Kentucky on Feb. 20)
  • Mason Randolph (offered on March 22), three-star offensive guard, Yorba Linda High School (California): No. 46 guard, No. 106 in California, N/A nationally (247Sports)

-Also offered four-star 2022 OT/DT Tyler Booker (IMG Academy, Florida), the No. 1 OT in his class and 2022 OT Braden Miller (Eaglecrest High School, Colorado — no rankings as of yet)

-Michigan State makes top-14 list for highly coveted four-star offensive tackle Rayshaun Benny (Oak Park, Michigan):


Defensive lineman:

  • Ryan Keeler (offered on March 17), three-star defensive end, Nazareth Academy (La Grange, Illinois): No. 33 strong-side DE, No. 16 in Illinois, No. 490 nationally (Composite)
  • Brandon Buckner, (offered on March 11), three-star defensive end/outside linebacker, Chandler High School (Arizona): No. 54 outside linebacker, No. 9 in Arizona, No. 738 nationally (Composite)
  • Hammond Russell (offered on March 13), three-star defensive end, Dublin Coffman High School (Ohio): No. 40 strong-side defensive end, No. 26 in Ohio, No. 610 nationally (247Sports)
  • Jeremiah Pittman (offered on March 23), three-star defensive tackle, St. Viator High School (Illinois): No. 41 defensive tackle, No. 23 in Illinois, No. 750 nationally (Composite)
  • Maason Smith (offered on March 19), five-star defensive tackle, Terrebonne High School (Louisiana): No. 2 defensive tackle, No. 1 in Louisiana, No. 24 nationally (Composite)
  • Quintin Somerville (offered on March 25), four-star defensive end, Saguaro High School (Arizona): No. 4 strong-side DE, No. 1 in Arizona, No. 70 nationally (Composite)
  • Shemar Turner (offered on March 21), four-star defensive end, DeSoto High School (Texas): No. 12 strong-side DE, No. 32 in Texas, No. 190 nationally (Composite)

-Other recent offers include Arden Walker (three-star strong-side DE, Cherry Creek High School in Colorado), Jamarius Dinkins (three-star strong-side DE, Walnut Ridge High School in Ohio), Enoka Migao (Chaparral High School, California, currently unranked) and Dakote Doyle (De Smet High School, Missouri currently unrated, but an extremely athletic defensive tackle)

-Michigan State makes top-15 list for four-star defensive end Kelvin Gilliam — the No. 5-ranked weak-side defensive end in the country


Linebackers:

  • Ma’a Gaoteote (offered on March 20), four-star outside linebacker, St. John Bosco High School (California): No. 7 outside linebacker, No. 8 in California, No. 81 nationally (Composite — Gaoteote has been verbally committed to USC since 2018, however)
  • Aidan Hubbard (offered on March 13), three-star outside linebacker, Saint Ignatius High School (Ohio): No. 42 outside linebacker, No. 23 in Ohio, No. 590 nationally (Composite)
  • Terrence Cooks (offered on March 16), three-star outside linebacker, Shadow Creek (Texas): No. 34 outside linebacker, No. 62 in Texas, No. 463 nationally (Composite)
  • Raneiria Dillworth (offered on March 16), four-star inside/outside linebacker, Glenn High School (North Carolina): No. 19 outside linebacker, No. 13 in North Carolina, No. 226 nationally (Composite)
  • Tyler McLaurin (re-offered on March 17), three-star outside linebacker, Bolingbrook High School (Illinois): No. 30 outside linebacker, No. 9 in Illinois, No. 411 nationally (Composite)
  • Terrence Lewis (offered on March 18), five-star outside linebacker, Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Florida): No. 1 outside linebacker, No. 2 in Florida, No. 10 nationally, No. 226 all-time! (Composite)

Defensive Backs:

  • JD Coffey (offered on March 18), four-star safety, Kennedale High School (Texas): No. 7 safety, No. 31 in Texas, No 186 nationally (Composite)
  • Charles Brantley (offered on March 10), three-star cornerback, Venice High School (Florida): No. 39 cornerback, No. 71 in Florida, No. 521 nationally (Composite)
  • Jaden Slocum (offered on March 14), three-star safety, Alpharetta High School (Georgia): No. 25 safety, No. 38 in Georgia, No. 738 nationally (Composite)
  • Tyler Hibbler (offered on March 24), three-star safety, Trinity Catholic (Missouri): No. 35 safety, No. 8 in Missouri, No. 531 nationally (Composite)
  • Anthony Beavers, Jr. (offered on March 23), four-star athlete/safety, Narbonne High School (California): No. 10 athlete, No. 17 in California, No. 191 nationally (Composite)
  • Shawn Gates (offered on March 16), three-star cornerback, East High School (Ohio): No. 64 cornerback, No. 32 in Ohio, No. 772 nationally (Composite)
  • Andrew Mukuba (offered on March 18), three-star safety, LBJ High School (Texas): No. 19 safety, No. 53 in Texas, No. 362 nationally (Composite)
  • Tamarion Crumpley (re-offered by MSU this past week): three-star cornerback, Winton Woods (Ohio): No. 9 safety, No. 30 in Ohio, N/A nationally (247Sports)
  • Kendal Daniels (offered on March 18), four-star safety, Beggs High School (Oklahoma): No. 9 safety, No. 3 in Oklahoma, No. 216 nationally (Composite)
  • Jardin Gilbert (offered on March 19), three-star safety, University Lab (Louisiana): No. 39 safety, No. 17 in Louisiana, No. 579 nationally (Composite)
  • Kaleb Edwards (offered on March 19), three-star safety, Dacula High School (Georgia): No. 29 safety, No. 39 in Georgia, No. 498 nationally (Composite)

-Other recent offers include Michael Gravely Jr. (three-star safety, Glenville High in Ohio), Rod Moore (three-star safety, Northmont High in Ohio) and Donovan McMillon (three-star safety, Peters Township in Pennsylvania)

-MSU also recently offer 2022 standout cornerback Denver Harris out of Texas. Currently he is the No. 5 cornerback and No. 3 player in Texas in his class.


While I can’t list out every player Tucker and staff have offered (this post has to end at some point) there are a lot of names to consider here, with more than 60 mentioned. Which of these players will be future Spartans remains to be seen, but the emphasis the coaching staff has placed on recruiting is a promising sign.