(EAST LANSING, MI) -- Don't count out MSU's recruiting class for 2003. With over 20 scholarships available for the Spartans, MSU's head coach John L. Smith has plenty of room and time to get a good class. Smith left East Lansing to spend the holidays with his family in Louisville. It was a good time for a break since the NCAA's 'dead period' where no recruiting contact (other than phone calls) can be made began on the 23rd. It runs through Jan 3rd. But he has more than enough to keep his agenda busy for the next few months. First, Smith will have to make up for a late start in the recruiting battles.
It appears that, rather than sparring it out with Ohio State and Michigan for the top talent in the Midwest, Smith will salvage what he can in the area, focusing keenly in on Saginaw's standout Lamarr Woodley, and then make a beeline for the South where he has name recognition and a reputation for taking care of the players he recruited from the area. While recruiting, Smith will try to assemble a staff made up of people from Bobby Williams former staff, his former staff at Louisville and talented free agents. Smith is known to have already spoken with former MSU assistant head coach Reggie Mitchell who was taking the lead in recruiting Woodley. He also is set to speak with two guys who kept the home fires burning prior to his hiring, Pat Perles and Jeff Stoutland. Finally, Smith is expected to move his family to East Lansing after the recruiting signing period is over in February.
MSU has moved up on the list for several players in Florida due to Smith's connection there.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (6' 4" 205) of Miami Norland HS now lists MSU as #4 out of 5 teams on his list. MSU was not among his leaders two weeks ago. Defensive end Stanley McClover of Ft. Lauderdale Dillard (home of former MSU standout Lorenzo White) has moved MSU up to 2nd on his list. Linebacker James Martin of Pompano Beach (6' 2", 220lb) has moved Michigan State to second on his list behind only Florida. McClover is ranked as the 40th best player in Florida by the Orlando Sentinel. But LB James Martin (6' 3", 220 lbs) of Pompano Beach's Ely HS lists MSU now as his leader ahead of Missouri, North Carolina and NC State.
It looks as if MSU will lose out on highly touted running back Matt Lawrence of Bloomfield, Connecticut. The running back was given the full court press by new Division I-A school UConn and has scheduled a news conference for today when he will likely commit to UConn. Lawrence made an unofficial visit to MSU prior to Smith's hiring.
MSU may receive a gift from, of all places, Ann Arbor, MI. Top defensive back William "Greg" Cooper, a 2002 Wolverine recruit could end up at State if he doesn't qualify for entrance into the University by today. Michigan is ready to either "fish or cut bait" with Cooper, ranked #8 overall for safeties in the nation last year. Why? If he isn't going to qualify, Michigan would like to give the scholarship to someone who will. Reportedly he would move up I-96 to East Lansing if he can't make the grades at Michigan as a walk-on initially.
Schedule News: MSU is set to ink a home-and-home b-ball matchup with Kansas and classy head man Roy Williams. If all goes as planned the series could start as early as the 2004 season with the inaugural matchup set for Lawrence and the return in East Lansing. MSU's football program will also ink a home-and-home deal with June Jones' Hawaii squad. MSU is expected to go to Honolulu next season.