Recently enshrined Spartans' head coach John L. Smith was no sooner ending his press conference than he was hopping over to the Breslin Center speaking to the man State would like to make the cornerstone of their defense.
Woodley, ranked #2 overall on TheInsiders.com Hot 101, was making an unofficial visit to watch the Spartans take on the South Florida Bulls in hoops at the 'Bres' along with fellow prospects Farmington Hills Harrison running back Marcus Woods, River Rouge safety Deaudre Perry, Chippewa Valley safety Nic Saad, and Woodley's teammate running back Jerome Jackson.
Woodley said Smith seemed to be 'real down to earth" and a "great guy."
Suddenly, with Smith on the case, the recruits were all saying the things MSU wanted to hear. Woods immediately called MSU his leader after the visit and Woodley was dismissing reports made by a recruiting website that had Michigan as his leader. "Everybody is on the same level," Woodley said.
"Michigan State is back at the top of my list," said Jackson. "I never disliked Michigan State. It's a great program."
Former MSU standout Magic Johnson was doing his best to help with the recruiting effort. Johnson jokingly challenged Saad, who is being recruited by many MAC conference schools saying "You better be a Spartan."
Meanwhile, MSU is back on track for a number of talented high schoolers. Lance Johnson of Detroit Murrary Wright is again interested in State and has received an offer. Tackle James Blair of Detroit Pershing is interested and is waiting to see if he gets an offer from MSU. Blair, a first team all-state player has offers from Toledo, Western Michigan and Minnesota but favors the Spartans.
Other recruiting news: MSU nearly grabbed Ventura County, CA JC lineman Bill Griffin, one of the nation's top junior college offensive lineman, to the University of Florida. Griffin had Louisville among his favorites and when John L. Smith made the move to State, Griffin briefly considered following Smith, but instead made the move to Florida.
Ventura County JC Safety Lonnie McCowan is also reportedly interested in Michigan State after sitting out all season with a foot injury. McCowan was supposed to sign a letter of intent to Louisville on December 18th but that all changed when John L. Smith began to be rumored to MSU on the 19th. It is unclear if McCowan actually signed the letter of intent tying him to Louisville.
Calhoun County SC., wide receiver Charles Ben still lists MSU among his finalists and Texas, Sam Houston HS quarterback Devin Williams ( a Donovon McNabb clone) has MSU also on his list. Meanwhile, J.J. Martin of Fork Union Virginia, one of the top wide receivers in the nation is interested in MSU new wide open passing attack and has MSU among his five finalists.
Speaking of quarterbacks .... with four returning to MSU in the fall including incumbent starter Damon Dowdell, last year's starter Jeff Smoker (who left unlimited potential unfulfilled last season) and highly touted Drew Stanton and redshirt sophomore Aaron Alexander, MSU is looking for quarterback prospects to redshirt. Pete Martinsen of Palm Beach Gardens, FL is getting closer due to John L. Smith's connections in South Florida. Eddie Miller who threw for 542 yards in one game his senior season will visit MSU on January 12th for an official visit. They are also still in on Dave Shinskie, a four-year starter for Mt. Carmel, PA high school.