Out at The Opening, Matt Dotson (Cincinnati Moeller HS) told the media only his mother and future college head coach knows where he’s going.
Will it be the Penn State Nittany Lions or the Michigan State Spartans?
Fans of both will have to wait and see. But here are five reasons Dotson could pick the Spartans in the end.
Reason One: Mark Dantonio – The Spartans head coach is at the prime of his coaching career having built the Spartans in to a program of relevance. 2016 will be his sixth year at the helm and at age 60, Dantonio still has several years ahead of him. His approach to recruiting has always been one of no flash and all substance and that could prove important to Dotson’s mother on where she wants her son to be.
Reason Two: James Franklin - This is not a bash against Franklin as he’s still considered one of the top young coaches in the college game with his recent success at Vanderbilt (24-15). While he’s only 14-12 in his first two seasons at Penn State, some have him on an early hot seat as the Nittany Lions continue to rebuild since the scandal that saw the NCAA issues crazy sanctions against the program. Franklin is flashier when it comes to recruiting and he should be since he's only 44 years of age. That could be a favor in Dotson looking at PSU, but it also could be a reason his family decides on him becoming a Spartan.
Reason Three: Program Stability - Under Dantonio the Spartans are 87-33 overall with a Big Ten record of 52-20 the past nine seasons. Three conference titles (2010, 2013, 2015) means the program is peaking and not looking to build. Add in tight end coach Jim Bollman who spent time in the NFL coaching tight ends and the Spartans might have even more of an advantage.
Penn State the past two seasons under Franklin has gone 14-12 overall with a 6-10 mark in the Big Ten. In the past four seasons, PSU has an overall record of 29-21 but has gone 16-16 in the Big Ten. Nittany Lions tight end coach Ricky Rahne is one of the young up and coming coaches who has worked some with tight ends (Kansas 2009-10) during his career and might connect with Dotson.
Reason Four: Pipeline From Moeller And Cincinnati - The biggest thing the Spartans seem to be fighting in their quest to get Dotson is the fact one of his best friends, Sean Clifford, gave PSU his pledge. Would PSU be in the running without Clifford? Over the years Dantonio has built a solid reputation in the Cincinnati area with the high school coaches and players. Greg Jones started the move of Moeller Crusaders to East Lansing and since has seen players like Marcus Rush and Monty Madaris follow. Add in the other players from the Cincinnati area that Dotson has spoken with that headed to MSU out of the region and it all points to Dotson heading to East Lansing.
Reason Five: Success Of Tight Ends – In the Michigan State offense tight ends are used not only to block, but to also catch the ball. This has not changed since Dantonio became a head coach at the college level and his tight ends have developed and had success at the next level. At Cincinnati, Brent Celek was a key clog of the Bearcats offense under Dantonio. At Michigan State the likes of Kellen Davis, Dion Sims and Garrett Celek have kept things going. Currently, Josiah Price is one of the best tight ends in the Big Ten Conference as he heads into his senior season as the Spartans career leader for tight ends with 16 touchdowns. Dotson has the ability to work on the line but also stretch the field with his ability to run and would be a major player in future Spartan offenses.
So, there you have Five reasons Matt Dotson could pick the Spartans over Penn State on Thursday. While most signs have pointed to Dotson picking Penn State over the past few weeks, we also stress watch what a kid does and not what he post on Twitter, Facebook or what he says in interviews.