A Look Back – Class of 2007 Part 1

It's the start of summer and while football season is several weeks away, we found it a good time to take a look back at past recruiting classes brought to Michigan State by Mark Dantonio. We start with five members of the first class Dantonio signed in February of 2007.

Twenty players made the official announcement of having signed on with Michigan State in that first class under Mark Dantonio. In the group would be several key players to the success the Spartans have seen the past couple of years.

We'll look at five members of the class until we've taken a look back at each of them and their impact or lack of an impact is broken down.

Keep in mind this class was a major change as to the type of players being brought into the Spartans program by the former staff of John L. Smith.

Scout.com ranked the Spartans Class of 2007 #51 overall.

Andre Anderson - RB 5-9 182 Barrington, Ill. (Barrington High School)

Scout.com 2-star running back (Non-ranked)

SPARTAN DIGEST BREAKDOWN: Anderson redshirted his first year in East Lansing and then appeared in 11 games during the 2008 seasons mainly on special teams. Some felt Anderson could be the answer to departed running back Javon Ringer. However, Anderson was removed from the team's active roster in the early part of the 2009 season for undisclosed reasons. The loss of Anderson did not have major impact on the roster as he'd been passed up by freshmen running backs Edwin Baker and Larry Caper. Final Grade: F

Aaron Bates - P 6-0 190 New Concord, Ohio (John Glenn High School)

Scout.com 2-star kicker (Non-ranked)

SPARTAN DIGEST BREAKDOWN: While some question giving punters a scholarship. Mark Dantonio made Bates a main target and for good reasons. Not only did the Ohio native come in and play right away, he would be one of the top punters in the Big Ten. By the end of his career, Bates left MSU as a team captain and will always be remembered for his roles in a couple of key plays during the 2010 season. Final Grade: A+

Garrett Celek - TE 6-5 240 Cincinnati, Ohio (LaSalle High School)

Scout.com 2-star tight end (Non-ranked)

SPARTAN DIGEST BREAKDOWN: Celek was a known commodity to Dantonio and his staff as Garrett had given them his verbal pledge while they were still at the University of Cincinnati. The Celek family was sold on the style of coaching they had seen with their other son Brent who played tight end for Dantonio at UC.

A high school offensive tackle, Celek had been told he'd be a tight end for the Spartans and be a main target much like his older brother had been.

A solid run blocker and solid receiving threat, Celek missed all by two games in 2010 and is expected to be a main clog in the Spartans offensive attack this season. Active Grade: B-

Kirk Cousins - QB 6-3 181 Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian High School)

Scout.com 2-star quarterback (Non-ranked)

SPARTAN DIGEST BREAKDOWN: Coming out of high school Cousins was considered one of the top prospects in the state of Michigan. However, those outside the state did not know much about him as he was overshadowed by another in-state signal caller Keith Nichol who was an early pledge to former Spartans coach John L. Smith.

Nichol changed his mind when MSU hired Dantonio as head coach and opened the door for Cousins to be part of the recruiting class.

With one more season in East Lansing, Cousins has proven his worth on and off the field and should leave MSU as one of the all-time best at the position. Going into his final season, Cousins will be a 3-year team captain and has passed for over 5,800 yards and 41 touchdowns in his career. He also led the Spartans to a Big Ten Championship in 2010. Active Grade: A+

B.J. Cunningham - WR 6-2 200 Westerville, Ohio (Westerville South High School)

Scout.com 3-star wide receiver (Non-ranked)

SPARTAN DIGEST BREAKDOWN: Another player Dantonio and his staff knew well before coming to MSU was Cunningham. The Ohio native was a player Dantonio and his staff felt could be a difference maker in their offensive scheme. So far, Cunningham has pulled down 139 receptions in 37 games for 1,780 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Entering his final season in the Green & White, Cunningham should be the Spartans main offensive target in 2011 and bigger numbers are expected. Active Grade: A

In our first five we've found the experts missed on a couple of key players for the Spartans. Cousins heads into his final season with many feeling he'll be one of the top quarterbacks in next spring's NFL draft. Cunningham should continue to improve upon an already solid college career and Celek is in position to have his breakout year. Aaron Bates leaves having been a four year starter and team captain.

As we can see, Mark Dantonio and his staff did a great job in a short period of time with four out of the first five we've looked at in the Class of 2007.

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