Recruiting Roundup: Setbacks for Spartans

Three heavily recruited targets commit elsewhere but Michigan State can still strike gold going down the stretch. Check out SI's recruiting round up, including an indepth look at several positions that MSU is recruiting.

(EAST LANSING, MI)--John L. Smith's coaching staff isn't quite crying in their beer just yet, but it's clear the Spartans have had some setbacks in their recruiting efforts this weekend.

MSU had thrown their best effort into landing highly touted James Townsend, a New Jersey wide receiver, who this weekend verbally commited to Iowa. Then word came late last night that Jameel McClain, the Philadelphia linebacker the Spartans had hoped with pair with Lamarr Woodley to give them a dynamic combo, commited to Syracuse.

Adding insult to injury, the Orangemen also got a verbal from Eric Ball, a Conneticut interior lineman the Spartans were recruiting and are close to signing Geremy Rodamer, a West Virginia wide receiver who was another Spartan target.

Meanwhile, Boston College was doing its share of damage to the Spartans recruiting effort. The Eagles got a verbal from wide receiver Dorien Bryant, a huge blow to MSU receiving targets and then the Eagles followed it up by landing Syracuse Corcoran (NY) running back JoLonn Dunbar and is reportedly close to signing Seton Hall Prep star Andre Callender.

Despite the losses, the Spartans are still hopeful of making an impact.

QUARTERBACKS: Michael Bush, the all-everything quarterback from Louisville Male (KY) is still visiting Michigan State. He has already visited Ohio State, Tennessee and is headed to Oklahoma prior to going to MSU on January 31st. Bush wants to play now. Steven Reaves, the son of former Florida standout John Reaves, has MSU in his two finalists. MSU needs only to outduel Auburn for Reaves services.

Others still on the Spartans list are Arlington Sam Houston's (TX) Devin Williams, Zephyrhills' James Adamo and Ypsilanti Lincoln's (MI) Chris Lee.The Spartans will likely take one quarterback out of this group, but will make it two if Bush wants to come to East Lansing. They already have Poland Seminary QB (ME) Sean Clayton.

RUNNING BACKS: Clearly, Seton Hall Prep star Andre Callender is at the top of this list with Saginaw's James Jackson, but Callender is leaning towards Boston College. Jackson is said to be leaning towards Minnesota but Lamarr Woodley and Jackson are the best friends and want to do college together. That could land both at MSU.

Tashard Choice of Lovejoy (GA) is scheduled to visit MSU on January 31st, but the Spartans are trying to move that up to this Friday. Youngstown Ursuline, OH running back/defensive back Terrence Graves has the Spartans on his list, but no visit has been schedule that theInsiders.com is aware of at this point.

Jahuu Caulcrick of Clymer, NY is firm with MSU and will sign on Feb 5th. A wild card, John Curtis River Ridge (LA) running back Kris Bush, who verballed to Texas A&M is not solid. He is shopping again and is expected to visit State this weekend.

WIDE RECEIVERS: With the losses of Dorien Bryant (Boston College), James Townsend (Iowa) B.J. Vickers and Antwuan Giddens (Louisville) and likely Geramy Rodamer (Syracuse), MSU is really hurting at this position. Today, it was learned that Jesse Holley has eliminated State from consideration. J.J. Martin of Fork Union Academy is being targeted by State and Joe McCray of Ft. Lauderdale Dillard a two-sport star is still in MSU picture.

McCray is being recruited by Tom Izzo to play basketball and Izzo's presence could help the Spartans land the 6' 5" standout. Dwayne Bowe is close to signing with Florida State. MSU has really turned up their efforts to land Robert Waller of Henderson, KY. Ernie Wheelwright, an MSU target, commited to Minnesota. Two other targets, Yorel Fernadez of Detroit St. Martin DePorres and Monrovia (IN) Jake Standeford are options.

OFFENSIVE LINE: State has performed best landing the big guys thus far. Of their seven commitments so far, three are top offensive linemen including Maine's Peter Clifford, 6' 7" 315; Carmel (IN) John Masters, 6' 5" 265 and yesterday's commitment of Joe Toth, a 6'3" 285 from Punta Gorda Charlotte (FL). Toth is expected to play either center or guard for State.

MSU is still in on four other top targets including Jarred Meade of Lebanon Cedar Crest (PA), Mike Costanzo of Pittsburgh Keystone Oaks (PA), Matt Hoffman of Wheaton Our Lady of Good Counsel (MD) and Jared Evans of Indianapolis Ben Davis (IN) DEFENSIVE LINE: Joe Graham of Farmington Hills Harrison (MI) and Darryl Melvin of Nassau JC (NY) are the two top targets at defensive line for MSU still remaining unsigned. Melvin visited Clemson last week along with David Dawson of Ft. Meyers (FL) another MSU target. State wants to schedule both in to visit sometime in the next two weeks.

LINEBACKER: Lamarr Woodley is the only name you need to know here. MSU basically has all their eggs in the Woodley basket. If it falls through, they might still try to sign teammate Anthony Rogers who is reportedly ready to go to Central Michigan if he isn't offered by MSU. MSU still wants Jackson (MI) standout Jeff Jansen and has not ruled out Charlotte East Mecklenburg's (NC)Robert Claitt.

SECONDARY: MSU got a huge break when safety Greg Cooper was denied admission into Michigan. As a non-qualifier, Cooper sat out the year, and is apparently going to qualify to play at MSU this fall. He could push for immediate playing time in the Spartan backfield.

State is in on three other safeties and would probably take two of the group between Brandywine Gwynn Park's (MD)Anthony Vaughn, Baltimore Western School of Techology and Environmental Science (MD) Jamal Rose and Massillon Washington's (0H) Markey Scott.

MSU has lured Pitt recruit Mike Phillips of Warren Harding (OH) in for a visit this weekend. They also love Detroit King's Samad Cain. Miami Christopher Columbus DB Patrick Lee, who gave a soft verbal to Auburn is now looking around and will visit State next weekend. River Rouge's Deaundre Perry committed to Bowling Green.

KICKERS: MSU is only recruiting Montrose (MI)'s Brett Holicki and Harrisburg (PA)Bishop McDevitt's Robert McHugh, a punter.

State now is up against it. They can't afford to lose this class no matter what anyone says. These are the seniors of 2006 and 2007. They need to grab at least ten verbals between now and national signing day. In addition, they need to somehow convince Cassopolis defensive end Derrick Outlaw to ink his letter despite having quit football. Outlaw will likely have a change of heart somewhere down the line and when he does, they want him in a Green and White uni.

Don't look for the Spartan coaches to be getting much sleep, or home time over the next two and a half weeks.

Commitments are coming very quickly and some players mentioned in this article may have committed after posting time


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