Taj Mustapha came to West Bloomfield last year after Southfield-Lathrup closed and it did not take long before Lakers head coach Ron Bellamy knew he had a special player.
Bellamy played wide receiver at Michigan and had a top-level wide receiver recruit the year before in Trishton Jackson, so he knew a high-major pass-catcher when he saw it, and it was Mustapha.
On Tuesday, he received another when the Michigan State Spartans sent one his way.
"They had a chance to eyeball him," Bellamy said, "and I'm biased in saying this, but Taj is the number one wide receiver in the state of Michigan. Some coaches had some questions about things and once he answered those questions, it was a no-brainer. Coach Dantonio and his staff did a great job evaluating him and extended the offer."
Jackson is now starring at Michigan State and after a monster spring, the expectations for him are high in East Lansing. He and Mustapha did not overlap at West Bloomfield, but the two have been in contact.
That relationship should help Michigan State be right in the thick of this race, but Mustapha will use the summer to learn more about his choices.
"Obviously he likes MSU," Bellamy said. "He has followed the program and has a good rapport with the coaches, but he and his family want to take time, they want to travel, and whether he's camping or not, go on some visits. They want to take some unofficial visits, tour some campuses, meet staffs and do some due diligence and make the right decision.
"Once they are comfortable, they will make a decision but he wants to be done with recruiting when football starts in August."
Bellamy says Wisconsin, who has not offered Mustapha, is very interested, and he is looking to set up a visit with the Badgers. He also wants to get back to Iowa, Indiana, Purdue and some East Coast schools.
He also believes he will have a much better Mustapha on the field this Fall, a scary thought for opponents considering his junior year has now netted him 17 offers.
"He's going to be unreal," Bellamy said. "He's learning how to play football still. Baseball was his first love and I didn't get a chance to work with Taj cause he was playing baseball but as he got older, Taj opened himself up, got the proper training and he's starting to take off. He is a lot more confident and comfortable.
"His footwork is good, his hands are the size of a 6-foot-7 guy, he has huge mittens and he has worked on coordination, footwork, learning what defense are trying to do. He can do it all, he's physical, he is a vertical threat in the passing game and he can catch short, intermediate passes and break tackles, not too many receivers have all those aspects."