There are those that strictly look at the number of stars by a players name. However, that is an inaccurate way to rate a class. Take a close look at NFL rosters, and you see many have gone to small colleges. In fact, Pro Bowl Rosters are filled with guys like that.
Many of these players have been missed in the inaccurate science that recruiting is. John L. Smith is excellent at film evaluation, and past players like DeAndra Cobb, Kerry Reed, and Domato Peko at MSU, and Elvis Dummervil, and Stefan Lefors at Louisville prove that.
Looking at MSU, they had several needs to fill, with the loss of Domato Peko, Brandon McKinney, and Michael Bazemore, they needed defensive tackles and defensive ends. They desperately needed defensive backs since safety Eric Smith, and cornerbacks Jaren Hayes and Ashton Watson have also moved on at an already thin and under productive position.
Chris Morris was a big loss at center, and there are other openings along the front line. The tight end position was also in need of an upgrade. So how did they do?
Here's a look at the players who have faxed committment letters to Michigan State:
Josh Rouse LB-Rouse is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker from Valley Forge Military Academy. Had 96 tackles, 35 for losses, with 5 sacks. Helped Valley Forge to a 8-0 record as a middle linebacker on a team that held opponents to 10.8 points per game. Played high school football for Newton (Conn.) Transferred to Newton from Immaculate high where he played linebacker, tight end and quarterback. Connected on 40 of 110 passes for 586 yards, and five touchdowns as a quarterback. Runs the forty in 4.6. Valley Forge is the same school that produced former Spartan Julian Peterson. Interest from Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, and Boston College.
Strengths-Josh is a Special Teams terror, as a former quarterback turned linebacker, he has an idea of what offenses are trying to do. Has good speed at 4.6 to run from sideline to sideline and gets into the backfield quickly. The disciplined military environment of Valley Forge should help Josh. He is a great tackler who sees things well and has good closing speed.
Sam Gardner/TE-Gardner is a 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end from Lexington, Kentucky. Member of "Tremendous 26" in Kentucky. Had 25 receptions for 337 yards and three touchdowns as a junior. Has 4.8 speed. Offered by Kentucky, Louisville, Western Kentucky, Nebraska, Clemson, and Cincinnati. Interest from Oklahoma, Michigan, and Notre Dame. Grandfather, Harry Denham, played basketball and football for Kentucky in the 1930's. Was Henry Clay high school's long-snapper and also played defensive end at a high level. Was ESPN's No. 9 rated tight end. Contended for "Mr Football" in Kentucky. Picked MSU for education, coaching staff, and the upside he sees at MSU. Considered a skilled blocker, receiver, and runner for his size.
Strengths - Gardner has good speed at 4.8 and shows soft hands on film and catches the ball well. He is a good blocker at the point of attack. Has a great motor and plays through the whistle. Also has the versatility to play on the offensive line, similar to Tom Kaczmarek, who came to MSU as a tight end and is now playing left tackle for MSU.
Ogemdi Nwagbuo /DT-Nwagbuo, nicknamed "OG", is a 6-foot-4, 285-pound defensive tackle from Southwestern Junior College in California. Was 2nd Team All-Foothills selection in 2005. Had 55 tackles with ten sacks on a defense that gave up just 132.7 yards rushing per game. Had career high of nine tackles in one game. Makes big plays-blocked a field goal, and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in key games for SWC. Was considered a pretty good basketball player. Chose MSU over Louisiana-Lafayette with interest from Nevada, Boise State and Idaho.
Strengths - Ogemdi is very inexperienced and yet has come a long way in a short time. Very physical player with a great work ethic. He also runs well and has a great frame. Will have to get a little stronger but has frame to do it. MSU wants him to be a run stopper. His basketball ability shows he has good feet and uses his hands well.
Devin Thomas/WR-Thomas is a 6-foot-3, 213-pound wide receiver from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. Is rated among the top JUCO players in the country.
Earned second-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors this year. Had 33 receptions for 674 yards (20.4 average) and five touchdowns. Had 1,161 All-Purpose yards this year. Returned 15 kickoffs for 339 yards (22.6 avg.), returned three punts for 92 yards, and rushed five times for 56 yards. Named NJCAA Offensive player Of The Week when he caught five passes for 167 yards, and two touchdowns in Coffeyville's 40-26 playoff win.
Strengths - Thomas is big, tall, and physical receiver that harkens back to the days of Kirk Gibson and Plaxico Burress. MSU will want him to use his physical prowess to beat jams at the line of scrimmage and go deep. Has the speed to run by corners so opponents will have to protect the whole field. Runs good routes, has good hand-eye cordination.
Nehemiah Warrick/S-Warrick is a 6-foot-1, 198-pound safety that earned first team All-American honors while at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College and ranked second on the team in tackles with 60 (46 solos, 14 assists).
Had two interceptions and eight pass breakups. Was named NJCAA Co-Defensive Player of the week after making seven tackles, gettng two interceptions, and two pass break-ups in a 28-12 victory over Independence.
Returned a kickoff 81-yards for a touchdown. Ranked third in Region VI in kickoff returns at 29.7 yards per return. Comes from same school as current Spartan player Sir Darean Adams (Bayshore High in Bradenton). Also played against current Spartan signee Devin Thomas in JUCO play. Had offers from Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas State, Marshall, ,Tennesee, and Central Florida.
Strengths - MSU needs a physical safety to replace Eric Smith and this guy looks like the answer on paper. He is physical enough to support the run, and versatile and athletic enough to defend the pass. MSU wants and needs him to play early. Warrick is willing to take on blockers and fill the gaps, so he will given an opportunity.
John Stipek/DE-Stipek is a 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end from Macomb's Dakota High School. John is a three-year varsity starter and two-time team captain. Benchs over 320 pounds and runs the forty in 4.71. Credits former All-MAC offensive lineman and current Macomb assistant coach Art Droski in improving his technique. Played primarily on the offensive line but is being recruited as a defensive linemen for Michigan State.
Played on one of better offensive lines in Michigan under head coach Mike Gianone. Offered by CMU, Toledo, and Bowling Green. Was the only Dakota player to be used on both sides of the ball. As a defensive lineman had 60 tackles and 12 sacks.
Strengths - Stipek has great speed for a big guy and uses his hands well which should help him fend off blocks from offensive linemen. Has a great motor and plays hard every play. As an offensive linemen, he is a solid run blocker and pulls and gets out on the perimeter. Gives MSU versatility at defensive end, or even offensive guard or center. Has great leadership qualities. Plays in the opponents backfield.
Jason Diehl/OL-Diehl is a 6-foot-4 300-pound offensive lineman who went to prep school at Milford Academy where he was a captain and played right guard, after playing for Troy High School (NY). Has unbelievable strength with a bench press of 510-pounds.
Runs a 4.9 forty. Wants to major in Agricultural Landscaping. Was an outstanding defensive linemen in high school at Troy where he made 86 tackles (33-solo, 53 assists) and 12 sacks as a junior, and 74 tackles and eleven sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, and four forced fumbles as a senior.
Was two-time all-state selection in high school. Camped at MSU in 2004. Improved stock with summer All-Star game and Milford Combine. Offered by Miami (FLA.), West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Missisippi, Iowa, and Illinois. Was named Defensive Player Of The Year at Troy.
Ironically, his high school played in the "Big Ten Conference". He dropped 25-30 pounds at Milford and is much quicker and stronger in his opinion.
Strengths - Milford coach Bill Chaplick called him "phenomenal" and expects Jason to be an all-star at MSU, and then play in the NFL. That is high praise. He can bench 225-pounds a whopping 36-times which are Pro Combine numbers already. Diehl has the ability to play on either side of the ball which gives MSU some versatility. Has great speed for someone that big.
Conner Dixon /QB-Dixon is a 6-foot-5 185-pound quarterback that hails from South Park HS in Library, Pennsylvania. As a senior, Dixon completed 77 of 146 passes (52%) for 1,868 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also ran 92 times for 333 yards. Was member of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fab 22" team, and made the MSASPORTS "Elite 11" Team.
As a junior, Dixon threw for 820 yards and 8 touchdowns on 50 of 98 passing (51%). Dixon has good speed at between 4.5 and 4.65. While Wake Forest and Boston College showed interest, neither school offered him a scholarship.
Dixon is very superstitious, before every game he wears a undershirt that says ""Martha's Run" on it, for his Aunt, a F.B.I. agent killed in the line of duty. Here's a kid who has played the piano for "7 or 8" years. He says his dream girl is Jessica Biel from "7th Heaven", and that his mom hates his scraggly beard, but he keeps that for good luck as well.
Has a 3.5 gpa. Played on a team that averaged only 10 passes per game. His high school coach, Tom Loughran, said he is the most athletic kid they have ever had in terms of jumping, throwing, and catching, and that he would have thrown for a "zillion yards" if they had let him. Or he would have also made a top receiver or defensive back as well.
Also played basketball. Excellent at reading defenses and changing plays at line of scrimmage. Said Dixon,"Football is my passion". Selected to play in the Big 33 game All-Star game, which features the top players from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Strengths - Dixon didn't get a lot of looks from in-state schools like Penn State and Pitt who looked at him as an 'athlete' type recruit and not a QB, but most who have seen Dixon play say he is a steal and going to surprise a lot of people.
In fact, Dixon camped at MSU and John L. chose him over a lot of other higher ranked quarterbacks he had in camp. What impressed John L. and the coaches was Dixon's ability to throw the ball much better than they had anticipated, and his ability to read defenses. You wonder if this could be John L.'s version of Stefan Lefors (former Louisville quaterback who was overlooked) here at MSU.
Eric Gordon/LB- Played at Traverse City West High School. Rated among the top linebackers in the nation. Nominated to play in the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Named to Detroit News Dream Team. As a senior had 136 tackles, 22 for loss, with 8 sacks. Also forced six fumbles and had five pass break-ups.
Rushed for 950 yards on 108 carries (8.8 ypc) and scored 13 touchdowns. Led team in tackles as a junior with 126 stops. Set school record in tackles with 335, tackles with loss (51), and forced fumbles (10). Ended with 1400 career rushing yards on 152 carries, a 9.2 yards per carry average. Camped at MSU in 2005.
Has 3.4 grade-point average. His grandfather, Don Dohoney played for Biggie Munn at MSU (1951-53) and became an All-American in 1953. Wants to major in accounting. Also offered by Indiana and Missouri with interest from Penn State.
However, keep in mind he committed extremely early (June-2005) and would have many more offers from bigger schools. Eric, said that his grandfather, Don Dohoney, had passed on, but if he went anywhere but MSU, "I'm sure he would have found a way to get back at me if I went somewhere else," laughed Eric.Has 330-pound bench press.
Strengths - Eric played his best in big games, he had 12 tackles and had 126 yards rushing versus Rockford in the playoffs. Here's a guy that never takes a play off and has enough speed to make plays everywhere. Already has speed to play safety, and size to play bandit or another linebacking position. Very strong and physical.
T.J. Williams/WR- TJ is rated the 16th best Post-Prep School star by Scout.com. Played last year at Fork Union (VA.) Military Academy in 2005, where he caught 22 passes for 478 yards (21.7 avg) and nine touchdowns.
Originally signed with Clemson in 2005 out of Leon High School in Tallahassee, Florida. Played in 2004 California-Florida Bowl. Had 370 receptions for 740 yards (20.0 avg.) and 11 touchdowns as a high school senior.
Also had 23 tackles, three interceptions, and 10 pass break-ups in 2004. Caught 45 passes for over 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. runs the forty in 4.4. Brother of FSU star Antonio Cromartie. MSU beat Clemson, Georgia, Auburn, Louisville, N.C. State, South Carolinia and others for his services.
Strengths - Williams has sprinter's speed. He ran a 4.48 forty at the Nike Camp in Atlanta. But he shocked people with a camp best shuttle time of 3.97.
Does a good job of making people miss after making the catch. He feels his strength is getting deep. He previously told Scout.com, "I can beat anyone deep at anytime." Williams and Thomas give MSU two pretty good wide receivers. Oh, did I tell you he was confident.
Marcus Hyde/S-WR-ATH-Marcus, a 6-foot, 187-pound star athlete from Fostoria High (OH) played quarterback for head coach Tom Grine. But Hyde will be looked at as an athlete capable of playing many positions at MSU. As a QB, he passed for 1100 yards, and 13 touchdowns in just eight games, and added 915 yards rushing and 11 more scores on the ground. Plans to major in Sports Management.
Runs the forty in "high 4.4's" and "low 4.5's". Coach Grine told GSN, "Kevin, I've been coaching twenty years and I've had two guys who have played in the NFL Damon Moore (Ohio St. and Chicago Bears), and Richard Newsome (MSU and New Orlean Saints), and Marcus is every bit as good as those two."
Offers came from Bowling Green, Ohio U., Kent St., EMU, and Akron. Canceled visits however to Iowa, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Was First Team All-Ohio QB for Division three. Former baseball prospect with 89-mph fastball. Team MVP.
Strengths - Hyde is aggressive, smart, with good feet and quickness. Coach Grine added he had good "escapability". He already benchs 325-pounds, but what blew me away was the 38-inch vertical jump, a key indicator of explosiveness. One opposing coach said that playing against Marcus was like 'your team playing in mud and Marcus running on air.'
Jesse Cole/LB- Jesse Cole is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound former Florida State transfer who will play in the spring and have two years of eligibility remaining. He came to MSU after transferring from Lorain County Community College in Elyria (OH).
Before that he starred at Avon Lake high school. While in high school, Cole was the North's Defensive MVP in the 2003 Ohio All-Star Classic. Was a Division II All-Ohio First Team selection in 2002. Made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Elite 11 Defensive Team. Was Northeast Lakes District, and Southwestern Conference Player Of The Year in 2002. Was also selected as the Defensive Player Of The Year by the Lorain Morning Journal.
Played defensive end, outside linebacker and tight end. He recorded 96 tackles as a senior, 38 tackles for loss, and set a school and single-season record with 22 sacks in 2002. Picked MSU over Colorado State.
Strengths - Cole is very strong and physical and knows where the quarterback is. He made most of his plays in high school as a defensive end, so he needs to make the transition to linebacker. He did play on special teams at Florida State and made a contribution.
He has very long arms and very first quick step. Expect Cole to become a blitzing linebacker depending on the situation. His success at MSU will be determined by how he adjusts to pass coverage as llinebacker. But this is a guy with fast wheels who can run.
Charles Gantt/TE- Charles is a 6-foot-5 240-pound tight end from Birmingham Brother Rice.
Caught 15 passes for four touchdown passes on a run-oriented attack. Also played very well as a linebacker the last half of the season. Has good speed at 4.8. Named to Detroit News Top Blue Chip List.
Moved to varsity as a sophomore and started full time as a junior. Considered one of the top 5 prospects in the state of Michigan. Grandfather, Robert Gantt, was All-American at Duke and played for the Chicago Bears. Very good basketball player.
Offered by Duke, North Carolina, Penn State and several MAC schools. Charles likes the way MSU uses the tight end in their attack in choosing the Spartans. Had 375-pound bench press.
Strengths - Simply put, Gantt is an outstanding blocker at the point of attack and catches the ball very well with great hands. Has great hand-eye cordination. He is a big guy with good speed at 4.8. Has the ability to fill out his frame and become an offensive lineman, however, his skills right now dictate that he stay at tight end.
Patrick Rigan/DE- Patrick is a 6-foot-6 235-pound defensive end from Traverse City St. Francis High School. He also played on the offensive line, was a long snapper, and also played at tight end, where he caught 22 balls for 292 yards and seven touchdowns. On defense he had 71 tackles (28 solo, 43 assists) with seven sacks, and a whopping 10 pass deflections. He has also forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles.
Committed to MSU over offers from Indiana and CMU, but committed early and surely would have had bigger offers on the table if he had waited longer, as Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, and Missouri recruited him hard. As a junior had 96 tackles, four passes broken up, and one interception.
Strengths - Rigan has great size and strength and uses his long frame to deflect a lot of passes, something he has a knack for. Could play at either defensive tackle or tight end. Iowa and Missouri recruited him as a defensive end, and everyone else as a tight end. But he prefers defense. Plays great on special teams as a wedge buster as well.
Kenny Tinney/CB-Tinney is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback from Milford Academy, the same prep school Jason Diehl attended. Tinney is a speedster with 4.3 speed in the forty yard dash. As a quarterback for Milford, Tinney completed 52 of 101 passes (51%), for 843 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions.
He carried the ball 59 times for 536 yards (9.0ypc) and two touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 131 yards. He finished this season with over 1,510 all-purpose yards.
As a high school senior playing quarterback, he led Ansonia to a perfect 13-0 record and a state championship. In the championship game, he ran for 218 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries, and threw a touchdown pass ina 55-0 romp. He threw for 11 touchdowns that year and intercepted three passes as a defensive back.
Ironically, he originally committed to UCONN over MSU and Syracuse because a visit he had with current Detroit Lion and former Huskie QB Dan Orvlosky. Broke a state record by returning seven punts for touchdowns in 2003. Was named 'Register State Of The Year' in the State of Connecticut. Led Milford Academy, coached by Bill Chaplick, to a 9-2 record playing quarterback on a team that averaged 34.3 points per game.
Received overtures from Michigan, UConn, Florida, Iowa, Miami (Fla), Maryland, Syracuse, and Central Florida were among those after Tinney.
Strengths - Tinney fits the bill as a cornerback that has explosive speed to not only lock down receivers, but will probably fill an important role as a punt returner on special teams.
He has a another gear speed wise that helps him, and he has great closing speed as a defender. As a gifted runner I would not be surprised to see him on offense as well in some capacity.
Enrique Shaw/S-WR-Shaw is a 6-foot-2.5, and 195-pound athlete who played for Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Shaw played running back and defensive back in high school.
He runs the forty at 4.46 but generally is in the 4.52 range. Described as a freak athlete with a 35.5-inch vertical jump. Hosted by Spartan Otis Wiley. Suffered a dislocated elbow in October.
Now healthy and playing basketball. On the season he rushed for 341 yards on 27 carries (11.9 ypc), for four touchdowns with a long of 75 yards. Was the leading receiver for Lafayette with 32 catches for 332 yards, with a 10.4 average with two touchdowns.
Returned two punts for 22-yards (7.3 avg.). Led Lafayette with 98.1 All-Purpose yards per game. On defense he had 48 tackles (24 solo/24 assists) with 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and 2-pass break-ups. Had two interceptions for 106 total yards and a touchdown. Had seven kickoff returns for 103-yards, a 14.7 average per return.
Favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, favorite food is Sesame Chicken, Favorite artist is "Capital-U".
Shaw was named All-District, was named to the 2005 Lexington All-City Team, Was named to 2005 Class of Commonwealth Team, honoring top 22 players in the state. Named to "Tremendous 26" team, as one of the top 26 players in Kentucky as selected by Kentucky Football Coaches Association. Canceled visits to Purdue, Cincy, and Kentucky. Wants ot major in Childhood education. Father is Eric Shaw, former NFL linebacker with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Kansas City Chiefs.
Strengths - Shaw did everything for Lafayette but sell popcorn at halftime. While is statistics at any one position are not overwhelming. His great vertical jump indicates the kind of explosiveness that John L. wants on the defensive side of the ball playing probably bandit,(since he plays a hybrid of the position already in high school) although safety cannot be ruled out.
H.S. Coach Mike Harmon has said that Shaw is the best of the Division-1 players he has produced at Lafayette and say he projects to a 220-pound bandit in college. Shaw is extremely tough, quickly bouncing back from to injuries that put him in the hospital- a sprained neck as a junior, and a dislocated elbow as a senior.
Both times he healed quicker than expected to star, including a two touchdown effort over a great Henry Clay team this year.
Brett Swenson/K-Brett is a 5-foot-9, 155-pound kicker from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Was selected to play in Dade-Broward All-Star game in a season that saw him kick 57-touchbacks. Connected on 60 of 61 PAT's as a senior, and 7 of 11 field goals with a long of 42-yards.
As a junior he connected on 9 of 11 field goals with a long of 45-yards, and was good on 17 of 18 PAT's. As a junior was First-Team All-Broward County and 2nd Team All-State. Committed to MSU without visiting because of strong reputation MSU has for developing kickers. Originally from Long Island (NY).
Chose MSU over Ole Miss and Bowling Green. Ranked by Scout.com as one of the top six kickers in the nation. Former soccer player.
Strengths - Swenson kicked a 58-yard field goal at the first Scout Combine, and was impressive with kickoffs. He even showed more at the second Scout Combine as he is now considered one of the most accurate kickers in the nation, something the Spartans really need. He showed an explosive leg with a low center of gravity. Gets to the ball quickly, with good leg whip, gets it off fast, high, and is very consistent in form. Kickoffs always high and deep, and can place them in the corners as well as anyone.
Colin Neely/LB-DE- Neely Checks in as a 6-foot-2, 245-pound hybrid who can play linebacker or defensive end. Played in high school at Freedom H.S. in Bethlehem (PA).
As a junior had 60 tackles, 10 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles. Chose MSU becasue they were among first to offer. Camped at MSU. Among College Football News's top 45 defensive end's, was named to Penn Post- Gazette's 'Top 30 College Prospects' in Pennsylavania and was No.27.
As a junior caught 17 passes for 266-yards and two touchdowns. As a sophomore caught 20 passes for 307-yards. Strengths - Projects as a rush end or a rush linebacker coming off the edge. He is capable of play all seven front seven positions. Has long arms with good speed and is noted for his relentless pursuit of QB.
Some have questioned his lack of height to play on the line but a player is a player. This guy does not like to lose, or be taunted.
Usually jovial and confident, he was suspended for one game after retaliated after a series of taunts and a late hit. Of course playing on a disapointing team that eventually finished 2-8 did not help. However, I see this as a positive. MSU could use some guys who view losing as unacceptable.
Jonathan Misch/LB-Misch is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound speed rusher from Orchard Lake St Mary's that will play linebacker for the Spartans. Misch received All-Area honors, and also was First Team All-Catholic in the Central Division. He led a St Mary's team that was 9-0 in league play and 11-1 overall.
That team gave up an average of just 9.5 points per game, and gave up seven points or less an amazing seven times. Misch had 10 sacks on the year and was stout against the run. Opponents also ran for just 101-yards in league play and 127-yards overall for the year.
Has 4.7 speed. Plays big in big games. Returned a 33-yard interception for a touchdown vs Warren DeLasalle, and made a big sack late in a game vs. Birmingham Brother Rice to preserve a 24-21 victory. Played for legendary high school coach George Porritt, one of the top high school coaches in the nation.
Misch was also member of a rowing team at St Mary's, that won the 2005 Midwest Rowing Championships. Concert pianist who also was on the wrestling team. Also practices Tae Kwon Doe. Northwestern (interest), Eastern Michigan (offered), and Washington (later rescinded) were among the other schools looking at Misch.
Strengths - Nobody ran to Misch's side of the field as he was solid against the run, but his real strength is getting after the quarterback. While not big, Misch has a motor and plays hard and was relentless. Has good physical strength and not afraid to mix it up. Hard worker in practice. Great first step.
Coach Porritt said, "He has good hand-eye cordination and will stay after it, and stay after it. He's unique-a live wire is what I call him." John L. liked him because on film he made play after play. Also had ability to run the football as a fullback, although MSU does not utilize that option much. Porritt said he has the best work ethic of any player he has ever had.
David Williams/WR-Williams is a 5-foot-9, 170 wide receiver playing for the Gateway Gators in Monroeville (PA). Williams, nicknamed "D-Willy", is known for being a speed merchant running the forty dash between 4.3 and 4.4. He caught 21 passes for 600 yards (28.6 avg.) and eight touchdowns.
He rushed 32 times for 224-yards and five touchdowns. He returned 12 punts for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 16 kickoffs back for 478 yards and two touchdowns.
The most amazing stat is that his nineteen touchdowns came on an average of 48-yards. Rescinded an offer from Kent St, and other offers came from Akron, Massachusetts, Youngstown State, and had interest from Toledo, Bowling Green, Pitt, PSU, Kentucky, and Illinois. One of four Gateway Players to Commit to a Division I School this year.
Best game came subbing for injured Gateway starting quarterback where he rushed for 180 yards and scored four touchdowns. Plays basketball, runs track, and plays baseball. Also plays drums. Wants to major in elementary education and be a coach and teacher one day, since people have told him that he is "great with kids."
Favorite food is steak. People he admires most are his parents, and his goal is to play pro football. Favorite athletic role model is Larry Fitzgerald, and he loves hip-hop music. Williams scored as a quarterback, as a receiver both on reverses and receptions, as a tailback both running and throwing a half-back option pass, on punt returns, and kick returns.
Chose MSU because the role he will play at MSU and the atmosphere. Named to the Big 33 All-Star game. Was member of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Terrific 25 team, which includes the top 25 players in Pittsburgh. Still needs to take S.A.T to qualify.
Strengths -Williams has a great work ethic on the field, and hopes to get a little bigger and stronger. He lifts weights and amazingly wants to get his speed even faster, and in the 4.2-4.3 range. He is very quick, sees the field well, and makes good decisions. Has great feel like Gale Sayers, in that he can feel the "pressure" and people around him even though he can't see them, and cuts quickly to avoid a tackle. He has great vision. Needs to adjust to game situations a little better but high school coach said he is a "phenemonal game- breaker". Here's a guy that could be a good kick returner on the college level as well.
J'Michael Deane/DT-Deane is a 6-foot-6, 290-pound defensive tackle from Newtonbrook High School in Ontario, Canada. Deane has good speed for a big man at 4.8, and had 41.5 tackles, and 2.5 sacks this year. Was also OVFL All-Star.
He has already passed the S.A.T. Played well in clogging up the middle, using his speed to disrupt, and playing physical in the trenches. Chose MSU over Ohio U., Duke, and Penn State. Has only played football three years, but is considered to have unlimited upside. Can play offensive or defensive tackle. Was named to toronto All-Star team two years in a row.
Strengths - Deane has worked hard on his speed, cutting his forty times from 5.16 and 5.08 to now 4.8. MSU needed some beef in this class and Deane is a big get for MSU.
He ran a 4.74 shuttle time and broad jumped 8-feet, 8-inches. He's a little leaner and faster than Martin and has great agility. Plus he hasn't even touched the weights yet, when MSU puts him in the strength and conditioning program he could fill out to 315-pounds easily.
Vaughn Martin/DT-Martin is a 6-foot-4 and 300-pound defensive tackle from Forest City London in Ontario, Canada. Vaughn runs a 5.09 forty yard dash and is a noted run stopper. Martin was considered the most impressive player at the Montreal Combine.
He will play for Team Canada in the Junior Global Championships in Detroit. This features the best 180 players around the world that are 19-years of age or younger. Teams from Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the USA were represented.
Martin chose MSU over Ohio U., Penn State, and Toledo. Was among the top players at the Junior Global Championships. Canada won the Global Championship over the USA by the score of 10-0.
Amazingly in five games, Canada went unscored upon with Martin clogging the middle, defeating Germany 21-0, Mexico 13-0, USA 21-0, and Japan 7-0 before beating the USA again for the the Championship. Martin had some key tackles for loss and sacks along the way. In the final game, the USA had just six first downs, 82-total yards, and just 47-yards rushing with Martin in the middle.
Strengths - Martin actually ran a faster shuttle time than Deane at 4.61 and has broad- jumped 8.5. Also cut his forty time from 5.17 to 5.09. Martin will be required to bolster the depleted interior line with the loss of McKinney and Peko. He has good size and is hard to move around, which bodes well for someone trying to clog up the middle.
Ervin Baldwin/DE- Baldwin is a 6-3, 260-pound defensive end who played for Coach Mike White at Reedley College in Reedley, California. Ervin is a 5-star recruit by Scout.com and is among MSU's top recruits.
Baldwin originally committed to Kansas State but changed his mind after a visit to K-State was not to his liking. At Reedley, Baldwin, whose nickname is "G-Ball" had 17 tackles for loss, and 15 sacks, and led Reedley to a 10-0 season and a CVC title. In the process he was named to the JUCO ALL-American First Team, to the CCCFCA All-California First Team (quite an honor when you consider that California is bursting with Junior College players), and was also named 'Valley Conference Defensive Player Of The Year'.
He was also considered among the top four defensive players in California. At Macon County High School in Georgia, he was the 'Regional Player Of The Year', and was named to the 'All Middle Georgia' Team before signing with Carson- Newman, a Division II school. Ervin will obtain his Associate's Degree in June and should be ready to go in the fall.
Strengths - Baldwin is a noted edge rusher with 4.75 speed and a high motor. He gets into the backfield quickly and gets a lot of sacks. He has come a long way after a being a non-qualifier in high school. He had what was considered an average first year before bursting onto the scene as a sophomore this year. He will be expected to get to the quarterback quickly for MSU, and take the pressure of MSU's maligned secondary.
Ashton Henderson/CB- Ashton is a 6-foot-180-pound cornerback from Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida and has good speed with a 4.4 forty. Henderson was the Defensive MVP for District 3 (4A). Henderson was also a 2005 High School Heisman nominee.
He also is a refined kid. He escorted a young lady to the "Leon County Chapter of Charmettes" Debutante and Presentation Ball. Lincoln finished 9-2 this year before losing in the Class 4A semi-final. Lincoln High is a school that has produced 90 college football players since 1999.
Henderson played his best in big games and made some great plays, including a 34-yard interception return for touchdown vs. Robert E. Lee high, a 34-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown vs. Rutherford High, a 16-yard touchdown reception vs. Godby High, and a 13-yard, and 5-yard, touchdown receptions vs. Panaman City Mosley.
Henderson has a nice 3.67 g.p.a and has scored an 18 on the A.C.T. Schools included Ole Miss, UCLA, UCF, Ohio State, Oregon, Arizona State, and South Florida. Chose MSU because wanted to go to school where he was comfortable regardless if he was playing football or not and he fell in love with the coaching staff.
Strengths - Henderson is great, soft-spoken kid, well, off the field, on the field Ashton is a big-time hitter who will lay you out. He has great hip swivel and some think he is among the best corners in Florida. Ashton has the ability to line up against physical receivers and take them on without a problem. Exhibits great footwork on film.
Abre Leggins/DT- Abre is a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle from Orlando Evans high school in Orlando, Florida. Evans High had a tough year, going 3-7, but Leggins shined playing on both sides of the ball as an offensive tackle and as an interior defensive tackle.
Leggins finished his senior season with 36 tackles and three sacks. As a junior, he had 40 tackles and 6-sacks. The reason his senior numbers were down was because he played mostly on offense at tackle. Leggins plays basketball as well.
Has 3.1 GPA. Offers came from Ole miss, N.C. State, Temple, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, and he had interest from Clemson, Florida, Miami (FLA), Kentucky, Colorado State, Michigan, Iowa State, Georgia, and Central Florida.
Strengths - Abre has game speed, whether that be 4.88 or 5.0, that's moving for a big guy. He has adecent bench at 365-pounds, and has good explosiveness with a 30-inch vertical jump.
Most coaches have talked about his "football I.Q", his ability to hustle, and his quickness off the ball. Abre will be expected to come in and challenge for an interior defensive tackle spot, and he also has the ability to play both sides of the ball although MSU recruited him strictly as a defensive tackle.
Abre is also very coachable, and as I mentioned previously, a "yes sir, no sir", kind of kid.
Roderick Jenrette/ATH-Jenrette is a 6-foot-1 195-pound athlete from Chamberlin High School in Tampa, Florida capable of playing safety, corner or outside linebacker in college.
Although Florida was his favorite school,he was recruited by Cincinnati, Rutgers, West Virgina, Illinois, and Indiana.
When asked about stats, Jenrette said, "I don't care about stats, I care about winning."
Jenrette played linebacker, strong safety, running back and played special teams. Considered a solid leader on and off the field, Roderick is a hard worker respected by teammates. Also, among the hardest hitters around, and challenges teammates to be better.
Strengths-Here's a guy that doesn't worry about stats but just wants to win. His size dictates a lot of positions and don't rule out bandit linebacker, as some recruited him as a linebacker. Jenerette impressed coaches and teammates alike with his work both on and off the field. Coach Turner said, "He's among the best football players I've ever coached, hard-nosed, with a 100- mile per hour motor." Very physical and likes to hit.