Kris MIller, Spartan Nation

Looking at the top recruits for the Michigan State Spartans' 2018 recruiting cycle on defense

Looking at the top recruits for the Michigan State Spartans' 2018 recruiting cycle on defense

The Michigan State (MSU) recruiting class of 2018 will be a lot smaller of a group than the 2017 recruiting class. There is no number set in stone for the amount of commitments that will be accepted in the class, due to attrition, but a rough estimate should be around 14 to 16 available scholarships. Thus the staff will be very selective when it comes to the offered handed out and commitments they accept. Three commitments are already in the fold, coming from Ohio four-stars Xavier Henderson, Joseph Scates, and Trenton Gillison. Spartan Nation highlights some of the top targets for each defensive position.

Defensive End 2

The 66th ranked recruit in the nation, four-star Jackson, TN defensive end Greg Emmerson received his first offer, a Michigan State offer, during an unofficial visit to MSU in April. Since, he has seen his stock and offer list rise. He now holds offers from top programs such as Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, and others. MSU remains a top option for the highly sought after recruit. MSU is also in after four-star Cleveland Heights, Ohio Tyreke Smith. Smith’s junior season was hist first football season since seventh grade, however is one of the biggest names in the midwest. He is a current Ohio State lean, with MSU and PSU just behind. The “Ohio to MSU” movement will certainly help the Spartans’ chances with Smith as the class progresses. Recently, four star Montvale, New Jersey athlete Dorain Hardy named Michigan State in his top 12. He will look to visit East Lansing again, but at this time, it is a long shot to sign Hardy. In-state four-star Dearborn, Michigan Aidan Hutchinson, a University of Michigan legacy recruit, holds an offer from MSU. He has visited before, but his father opposes the Spartans. He will not end up in East Lansing, unless something crazy happens. Now for someone that actually favors the Spartans; Fairfield Ohio Scout300 Malik Vann. Vann’s ex-teammate Josiah Scott recently enrolled at Michigan State and is constantly in Malik’s ear to come to MSU. Malik has visited the Spartans a handful of times and considers MSU and Notre Dame his top options. He will make a summer decision, and I expect the Spartans to come up on top. There are two recruits at the defensive end position, Huber Heights, Ohio Alex Reigelsperger and Detroit, Michigan Andre Carter, that an offer from MSU would almost certainly guarantee a commitment. Alex is a very vocal leader and would provide a boost in recruiting for the state of Ohio if he was a Spartan. An offer for him should be coming soon. Carter recently transferred to Cass Technical high school. The Spartans will evaluate his senior film this and fall and decide on if an offer will be given out or not.

Defensive Tackle 0-1

Defensive tackle does not figure to be a portion of need, as there have been very minimal scholarships given in the 2018 class. One-time University of Michigan commitment three-star Leonard Taylor, from Springfield, Ohio, is listed as a tight end in Scout’s database but has the versatility to play multiple positions. He received an offer from MSU while on a visit tis year, but the Spartans would have to overcome the Ohio State buckeyes to get the Ohio recruit. Carrollton, GA three-star Josh Walker was offered over the fall and planned to make the trip to East Lansing, but that trip never happened. The Spartans still appear to be a main competitor for Walker, but interest on both sides has faded after the missed visit. The Spartans have also offered Bradenton, FL Kingston Harris and Washington, DC Cam Goode, two defensive tackles, unranked by Scout.

Outside Linebacker 1

Over a year ago, MSU extended an offer to Cincinnati, Ohio Christopher Oats who is now the 92nd ranked recruit in the nation. He has made it up to MSU for multiple visits and plans to return soon. As of now Oats holds 10 scholarship offers, but an offer from Ohio State over the summer separated the Buckeyes from the pack with Michigan State in second. Next is another Ohio linebacker, four-star Dallas Gant. Gant hs been to MSU many times and grew up rooting for the Spartans. There is a lot of pressure being applied from the staff to get Gant to join the fold. His top group consist of MSU, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, with Ohio State closely leading the other two. In-state four-star Detroit, Michigan DeAndre Square is the most likely of the three to become a Spartan. MSU has a firm lead for Square, and I project his recruitment to conclude in favor of the Spartans.

Inside Linebacker 0-1

The Spartans have only offered a single inside linebacker in the class of 2018, Perkasie, PA Nick Tarburton. He’s currently unranked by Scout. I expect him to commit to Penn State. The Spartans are evaluating three-star Powell, Ohio Edward Warinner, a rising junior with connections to the Michigan State program, including his mother being a Spartan graduate. If the Spartans sign an inside linebacker in the class of 2018, I would expect it to be Warinner.

Cornerback 2

MSU kicked off their 2018 recruiting class in the fall with a commitment from the 138th ranked player in the nation, Pickerington, Ohio Xavier Henderson. Henderson had a phenomenal junior season and the accolades he received proved that. Henderson is a 6’1, 180 pound corner that can excel in both press coverage and zone coverage. Besides Henderson, there are a few highly sought after cornerbacks that the staff would like to add. Braden Lenzy is a four-star cornerback, from Tigard, Oregon who can line up at wide receiver just as efficiently, who called MSU his “dream school”. He grew up watching the Spartans, and his father is best friends with ex-Spartan basketball star Gary Harris’s father. He made the trip from Oregon to Michigan in December, and looks to visit agin sometime soon. Pulling an elite recruit away from the west coast powerhouse programs will be a challenge, but I’d give the Spartans the current lead in his recruitment. Four-star Detroit, Michigan cornerback Kalon Gervin has been on the Spartans’ radar for almost three years, and during the fall, the Cass Tech Technician received an offer from MSU. There are a few SEC teams battling MSU and Michigan for his services but I believe the 6’, 170 pound athlete will decide between the in-state schools. One last target at the cornerback position is Fort Lauderdale, Florida three-star Marquis Williams. He recently received an offer from the Spartans and is enamored with the tradition at MSU. He will look to visit soon.

Safety 1-2

Early on, MSU was a main option for the Chicago native, top 100 recruit Houston Griffith, but he has transferred to IMG Academy since. He has visited MSU a handful of time and I would expect the Spartans to remain a player in his recruitment. The Dowell brothers provided significant help on the Spartans’ defense this year, but the younger brother, Lakewood, Ohio Michael Dowell, may be the best of all coming out of high school. The four-star safety may decide very soon and I would fully expect him to become the third Dowell brother to commit to Michigan State. One prospect at the safety position who is yet to be offered by MSU is three-star Pickerington, Ohio Jeremiah Wood, teammate of Spartan commits Xavier Henderson ad Trenton Gillison. If he is offered by the Spartans, he will commit on spot.

Athlete 1

Michigan State just recently offered three-star Detroit, Michigan Elijah Collins. He currently favors the Spartans and can play a few positions including linebacker, running back, and safety. As of now, I expect Collins to commit to MSU. Previously spoke of L'Christian Smith and Braden Lenzy could also be considered athletes.

That wraps up the two part preview of the Spartans’ 2018 recruiting class, as Signing Day is a year away, many names will pop up and disappear from the list. Stay tuned to Spartan Nation as we highlight each and every step along the way what should be a star-filled 2018 recruiting class.

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