Simpkins Visiting, Final Piece?

Virginia defensive lineman Clinton Simpkins made a last-minute official to MSU this weekend, but is he the final piece of the recruiting puzzle for Michigan State's class of 2009? GSN takes a look at the final names on the board as the recruiting season enters its final days.

Clinton Simpkins or Jairus Jones? Defensive end or safety? That could be the final decision facing the Michigan State football program as the 2009 recruiting effort winds down.

Jones visited last weekend and reported an offer still on the table. He hedged a bit, however, when asked if he still wanted to wait for Signing Day to select a team, indicating an understanding of the fickle nature of recruiting.

When there are only so many seats on the bus, you need to grab a seat or watch it roll on by.

Jones, a player GSN has kept a close eye through the recruiting process, may be the number one guy on the board, but coach Mark Dantonio and staff apparently wanted to meet another defensive end before committing to anyone else.

After a bit of scrambling, an official visit was set up for Clinton Simpkins — his first — a defensive end out of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the same state MSU landed Cameron Jude from late in the game for the 2008 class.

Simpkins, a long and high jumper, hurdler and all-around track athlete when he's not on the gridiron, had some early interest from North Carolina State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and some SEC schools such as Tennessee and Kentucky, but recruiting has picked up since the end of the year as teams look for the final pieces of the puzzle.

A lean, athletic defender, Simpkins stands 6-foot-3 and weighs around 210-pounds. In high school he played on the interior of the line, but after a recent visit from a Spartan coach, his trajectory at MSU would likely put him at end.

Some academic issues — specifically the SAT — have kept some programs at bay, but high schoolers are allowed to take the test more than once and sources tell GSN that Simpkins is waiting to hear back on his second SAT try.

GSN will be working hard to contact Simpkins, who shies away from media attention, to find out how the official went and if MSU extended its final scholarship to him.


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