Answering your Michigan State Football Questions and Emails…
Hey Hondo, you seem very upbeat about Spartan recruiting while others seem to be depressed. Can you share some reasons for optimism? Ben T.
Sure I can Ben. First of all, MSU reset their recruiting this year. As I have said many times AFTER they won the Rose Bowl, MSU changed in how they recruited. It does not mean that every recruit that they got AFTER the Rose Bowl until now didn’t fit the old mold, but certainly enough to impact the culture. Those days are done. They are going after the exact kids that got them to a Rose Bowl. Certainly they want the best players they can get, but they are really zeroing in on guys with bedrock of character and work ethic. There are some names as the 2017 class comes down the stretch that MSU had not been as hot on and some that the player had not been as hot on that are now talking. Add to that some players that would have been TOP TIER players in the past that are back in focus. They will take as many as 25 players in this class if 25 players worthy of an MSU scholarship want to be here. While some are bemoaning later offers and misses, I see some guys committing other places they had backed off on and some new guys that would have been high end objectives in the past.
Hondo you seemed earlier this week high on Antjuan Simmons. You have always seemed to like his game, but you didn't think he and MSU were both on the same page. Do you feel more optimistic on the Spartans chances with him now? Thanks. Kevin Howard
I do Kevin. I have always liked the way he plays. I have reported in the past that I thought both parties had cooled on each other because they had. I now see MSU as not only a viable player for his talent on signing day, but the leader.
Hondo I have not seen anything published on MSU spring ball and I am ready to get going and get the taste of 2016 out of my mouth. Do you know when spring practice starts and any idea on the spring game? Nick Slater
Although I have not seen this publicized anywhere, with no bowl game they are going to start early this year. Practice will as of right now start February 27 and the spring game is tentatively scheduled for April 1. Certainly they can change that (perhaps that is why it hasn’t been made public) but that is the plan as of now.
Hondo, as we come down the stretch for this 2017 recruiting class do you see any surprise gets? Kyle Rowe
Great question. I do. I am not sure how you would describe a surprise and let me explain. When fans hear of an offer they expect to get that kid. Nothing wrong with that, it is human nature. No matter the fan base or fan, everyone thinks their school is a perfect fit. Behind the scenes you learn about a player not wanting to go to school A because player B already committed there and they don’t like that player or want to compete with them. Sometimes an assistant leaves and in some cases the school cools on a player. I know a young man who lost a big time offer from a major power five school because of some things he put on social media recently. There is one player and a chance at another that if you had asked me just a short time ago if they would go to MSU I could have told you emphatically no. Now you see the MSU reset button and things coming into focus better and I see one surprise and maybe two. Also some others that maybe others aren’t talking about, but should. Long time readers of Spartan Nation will tell you that when MSU signed LeVeon Bell I was VERY HIGH on him. While others mocked his lack of stars, I knew what the coaches thought of him. They didn’t like him, they loved him. The pie is very small for players worthy of an MSU offer. I know MSU will take 25, so let’s see how they finish. I do expect a great finish no matter the number just based on what I know.
Hondo, is it time to panic on the lack of OL recruiting? Will Stoddard
No. They won’t take players that aren’t MSU ready. There is not a super deep pool this year, but they are already in on and have great shots at some very top tier 2018 players. I think MSU has some solid OL for this class and I in no way think it is time to panic.
Hondo, you had mentioned Brad Salem going out West this month. Any idea when? Thanks for what you do. Kelsie Raymond
First, Brad was going, but now it will be Mark Staten. Secondly, it will be next week that MSU heads west. This is going to be a super-fast finish to 2017 class so hold on.
Hondo, do you think Mark Dantonio making it super clear that Brian Lewerke is the quarterback next year will anger Messiah DeWeaver to the place that he transfers this season? I can’t believe coach D is so rigid. That kid is the future; we can’t piss him off this early. Shawn B.
Hi Shawn, with all due respect Messiah is not a young man impressed with himself. He is a super talented player, but so is Lewerke. He didn’t get to MSU because he is afraid to compete. He has never played a game in college. Can you stop with the anointing of young players? He will play. He will get reps and he will have a chance. Dantonio was right. This is Lewerke’s team and until someone beats him or he beats himself it will remain that way. Please see the next question.
Hondo, what happened with Damion Terry? What did he do wrong? He was so hyped prior to coming to MSU. I was a senior his freshman year and I remember early in the season chanting with the rest of the students for them to play him. He hasn’t played at all and now entering his senior season he isn’t the starter. I vividly remember when some were reporting that he was going to start that you were the only one saying no. So what happened? Ross A.
First Ross, I would say that players that MSU goes after are not bad players. You have to be special to get a $150,000 education for free. But you need to remember that they are good high school players. So many dynamics change. Players are bigger, faster, and stronger. Life changes from the structure of home to the lack of structure at college. With Terry he is so gifted athletically that it was easy to see why the MSU coaches loved him coming out of high school. He had very good QBs ahead of him in Connor Cook and Tyler O’Connor. Remember that when Tyler O’Connor came out of high school he was not only the best high school QB that I had ever seen, I had coaches from more than one school that felt the same tell me that. He then has Brian Lewerke behind him who is a sharp shooting passer with mobility. Why does it have to be what he did wrong? Perhaps it is what others did right. Now, I would add that if you can’t stay healthy you can’t play. I am not questioning his toughness, but he has struggled to stay healthy. Dantonio has admitted this. I think that has hurt him along with competing with great players every day.
Hondo, can I at least expect one commitment this weekend in football recruiting? I know you like Star Wars so give me hope Hondo Carpenter, you are my only hope. Jeff Thomas
Yes, I expect at least two this weekend. That doesn’t mean that more than two won’t and it doesn’t mean that more than two young men who visits this weekend won’t end up part of the 2017 class, just not commit this weekend.
Hondo, what are your thoughts on punt returns and kickoff returns for MSU? I am not a complaining type person. If people want to complain I want answers. What would you have done and what would you do? Thanks for all you do. Love all the new coverage. T. Bronkema
First, I would have had whoever my third string running back (RB) was since that changes every week back on kickoffs along with Donnie Corley. I would have also had Corley or that third string RB every week taking my punts back. I would take the brake off the punt returner and let him loose. Not since Keyshawn Martin was here and they turned him loose have the Spartans had a legit threat on special teams. I understand you want ball security. Who doesn’t, but trust the players you brought in and let them loose. You can’t live your life in fear of a mistake, attack it. Let’s go!
There you go everyone. That is your weekly MSU football questions and answers article. Make sure you send your questions to SpartanNationMail@yahoo.com and put in the subject line Football Q/A. If you are a premium member to Spartan Nation please make sure you point that out, as those questions get answered first. Thank you.