Spartans Intrigued by Badger State LB

Mark Dantonio and staff are keeping their collective eyes on an under the radar linebacker prospect from our neighbors to the west. Find out where Michigan State stands in the Kimberly, Wisc., student-athlete's mind and get an update on his recruiting situation.

When it comes to the state of Wisconsin, Michigan State doesn't draw a whole lot of talent.

"I think there's maybe one," player from Wisconsin on MSU's roster, said linebacker A.J. Klein, from Kimberly, a Badger State prospect Mark Dantonio and staff have circled.

"I was kind of surprised there weren't any Wisconsin guys on their roster, or maybe one," he said.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound athlete has plenty of natural ability, though, running a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash and a 4.3 in the shuttle, and that's one reason State is keeping an eye on him.

Klein got a chance to visit MSU earlier in the year and liked what he saw, from the coaching staff to the facilities.

"It's a really good place, I could probably see myself being there if everything worked out that way," he said.

Growing up in Wisconsin, and with a dad who's an alum, Klein admits to a soft spot for the Badgers program. But with UW's scholarship allotment likely limited to around 16 spots for 2009, it's going to be an uphill battle for Klein to make their roster.

Likewise, Michigan State has a tight year for scholarships, but the interest from East Lansing is steady, Klein says.

About UW, Klein says this: "They said they are going to take their time with guys ranked above me … that they've offered, but they said be patient." And that's a similar story to what he's hearing from State. "When I took my visit, that's kind of how it sounded," he said.

He has not narrowed down his list of schools he's considering and wants to keep the recruiting process open to gather as many offers as possible.

In hand, he has offers from Iowa State, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Wyoming. Klein says most schools see him as an outside backer, but some have talked about possibly slotting him at the Mike.

Klein is heading to Northwestern for a one-day camp soon and half expects an offer to materialize from a coaching staff he's been hearing more and more from.

After that, it's preparing for a senior season in Kimberly, where he'll get one last chance to wow programs with game film. He's not really interested in setting a timeline like he once was, and says a decision will come when the time is right.

"At the beginning of all this I kind of had a timeline set down for myself," Klein said.

"I wanted to be committed and done with things before the season started. But the way it's looking … I'm going to wait until the season starts a couple games in so I can take a couple of Saturdays and take official visits and see what the atmosphere is actually like on gameday and just how comfortable I feel there."

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