A Look at Michigan State Recruiting: Part II

In this part of the article I will break down the current and previous year's recruits on the defensive side of the ball for the Spartans. While Notre Dame struggled to stop the Michigan State offense during the team's last meeting, the Spartan defense was a very giving group. Do any of MSU's recent defensive recruits have the capability to help stop the ND offense? A closer look reveals the following:

Defensive Line:

2005 recruiting class- Reggie Graham, Adam Decker, David Stanton, Hayward Howard, Jonal Saint-Dic, Bobby Jones

Reggie Graham was a 6-5, 205 pound defensive end out of Alabama. Graham runs the forty in 4.5 seconds. He is considered to be a candidate for the Spartans "bandit" position. Graham chose MSU after decommitting from Marshall. He was rated as a one-star player on Scout.com.

Adam Decker was a two-star player on Scout.com coming out of Brother Rice high school in Michigan. Unrated at his position, Decker recorded 84 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks during his senior year. Decker chose the Spartans over offers from Georgia Tech, Boston College, Indiana, and Northwestern. He has yet to see the field for Michigan State.

David Stanton was one of the defensive jewels of the class. Stanton was a four-star defensive tackle on Scout.com. He chose Michigan State over Iowa State and Oregon State. Another testament to JUCO measurements, Stanton shrunk two inches in college to become a 6-3, 291 pound defensive lineman. In what was called a "crushing blow" by Coach John L. Smith, Stanton was declared academically ineligible before he could suit up for the Spartans. He would eventually become eligible and go on to record 13 tackles during the past season.

Jonal Saint-Dic was rated as a three-star player coming out of junior college. Saint Dic was a 6-1, 256 pound defensive end. During his freshman year with the Spartans, Saint-Dic had a unique stat line. He recorded one tackle that happened to be for an eight-yard loss and a safety.

Bobby Jones was a three-star player on Scout.com from North Dakota State (JUCO). At 6-5, 280 pounds, Jones was a defensive end with offers from Kansas, Kansas State, and Wisconsin. After choosing the Spartans, Jones went on to play in just one game. Jones moved to defensive tackle and made no impact on the stat column during his short stay on the field.

Hayward Howard never made it to the Michigan State campus due to academic issues. He would go on the sign with Ole Miss during the recent JUCO signing period.

2006 recruiting class- Ogembi Nwagbuo, John Stipek, Colin Neely, Patrick Rigan, Ervin Baldwin

Ogembi Nwagbuo is yet another JUCO Defensive line recruit for the Spartans. A 6-4, 280 pound defensive tackle, Nwagbuo is rated as a three-star player on Scout.com. Nwagbuo chose MSU over Nevada, Boise State, and Idaho.

John Stipek is a 6-4, 245 pound defensive end from Macomb Michigan. Stipek is rated as a two-star player on Scout.com. Stipek chose Michigan State over offers from Central Michigan, Bowling Green, and Toledo.

Colin Neely is a three-star defensive end on Scout.com and rated as the No. 75 prospect at his position. Neely is 6-2, 245 pounds and runs the forty in 4.75 seconds. He was a Pennsylvania class AAAA Associated Press all State player his senior year in high school. Neely chose MSU over offers from Penn State, Rutgers, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Boston College.

Patrick Rigan is another solid defensive end recruit for Michigan State. Rigan is ranked as a three-star player and No. 68 at his position. At 6-6, 230 pounds, Rigan runs the forty in 4.6 seconds. He chose Michigan State over Central Michigan and Indiana.

Ervin Baldwin is a five-star defensive end on Scout.com. He just recently committed to the Spartans over offers from BYU, Washington St., Kansas St. and Texas Tech. Baldwin had originally committed to Kansas State, but chose the Spartans in the end. He is said to have had an average freshman season in Junior College, but steadily improved every week during his sophomore season.

*Michigan State recently picked up commitments from two Canadian defensive lineman, J'Michael Dean and Vaughn Martin. Dean is 6-6, 290 pounds and Martin is 6-4, 300 pounds. Both had interest from Penn State and Ohio U.


2005 recruiting class- Brandon Long, Andrew Hawken

Brandon Long was a three-star player on Scout.com who was ranked No. 74 at his position. Long chose Michigan State over offers from Iowa, and Indiana. Long is 6-3, 230 pounds and runs the forty in 4.51 seconds. Long saw the field for seven games for the Spartans and recorded three tackles and a fumble recovery.

Andrew Hawken was a three-star player on Scout.com. Ranked as the No. 84 prospect at his position, Hawken chose MSU over offers that included Purdue, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Hawken came to Michigan State from Grandville High School, in Michigan. He has yet to see the field for the Spartans.

2006 recruiting class- Josh Rouse, Eric Gordon

Josh Rouse is a two-star linebacker on Scout.com. Rouse spent last season at Valley Forge Military Academy. He stands 6-3, 210 pounds. Rouse also received interest from Boston College, Illinois, and Iowa.

Eric Gordon is a three-star player on Scout.com. Gordon received offers from Indiana, and Missouri, but chose the Spartans as soon as they offered. He was the ranked as the No. 47 linebacker. During Gordon's senior season he recorded 125 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and six sacks.


2005 recruiting class- Demond Williams, Kendell Davis, Otis Wiley

Demond Williams was a two-star player on Scout.com coming out of Junior College. At 5-11, 180 pounds (actually 5-9, 174 when he got to MSU), Williams runs the forty in 4.3 seconds. Williams got significant playing time early for the Spartans. He returned 17 kicks for 431 yards and one TD. He had a long of 98 yards. On defense, he had 29 tackles and one interception.

Kendell Davis does not appear on the MSU roster.

Otis Wiley was a three-star player on Scout.com. Wiley measured in at 6-2, 185 pounds and played the safety position for the Spartans. Ranked No. 33 at his position out of high school, Wiley recorded 18 tackles, one interception, one sack, and one fumble recovery during his first action in college. He is originally from Flint Michigan.

2006 recruiting class- Marcus Hyde, Ken Tinney, Nehemiah Warrick

Marcus Hyde is a two-star cornerback on Scout.com. Hyde suffered a broken collarbone during both his sophomore, and junior seasons. As a result he may still have plenty of room to develop since he missed significant time during both seasons. Hyde chose MSU over Akron, Bowling Green, and Wisconsin.

Ken Tinney is a two-star player on Scout.com. Tinney originally committed to UConn out of high school, but decided to go to prep school instead before eventually pledging to Michigan State. Tinney is 6-1, 185 pounds. He chose MSU over Syracuse and Iowa among others.

Nehemiah Warrick is a 3-star safety on Scout.com. Warrick is another JUCO player who will finish his career at MSU. He chose the Spartans over Tennessee and Arkansas. Warrick is 6-0, 205 pounds and runs the forty in 4.5 seconds.

Special Teams:

2005 recruiting class- None

2006 recruiting class- Brett Swenson

Brett Swenson is a three-star player on Scout.com. He is rated No. 4 at the kicker position. Originally from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Swenson connected on 9/11 FG's with a long of 45 yards. He had over 45 touchbacks on kickoffs, and was elected second team all-state.


The Spartans obviously utilize the Junior College ranks frequently. They also take some kids that are considered to be academic "risks". As a result, they often have to deal with non-qualifiers. A problem ND is fortunate to be able to avoid. MSU usually has two or three players who become academic casualties per class. They have also really loaded up on the defensive line over the past two classes, taking a total of 13 players.

They have been able to get players they have prioritized at the offensive skill positions. Players like Ringer, Jimmerson, and Dominic Natale all have great potential. Michigan State consistently seems to put very good receivers on the field as well. On the defensive side, Michigan State has recruited a lot of speed. Their defense will be fast, and the defensive line will be an improved group in the coming years, especially on the ends. They have also recruited the safety position well.

The biggest weakness I see on either side of the ball for the Spartans is their offensive line. Many of the players they have recruited are not top-of-the-line type guys. They are solid at best. I'm not sure with MSU's offense they need much more than that. They have a quarterback who can scramble and an offense that allows them to spread defenses out. This can sometimes take the opponents D-line right out of the game.

For Irish fans who like to look at stars to determine how well a team is recruiting, Michigan State has one five-star commitment in this current class and 11 three-star commitments. In 2005 they had three four-star commitments and 11 three-star commitments.

In contrast, Notre Dame has three five-star commitments in this class and 12 four-star players verbally committed. Even Notre Dame's 2005 class, a class many suggest has the least talent the Irish have signed in many years, would rank higher than either of Michigan State's two classes as the Irish signed five four-star players and nine three star players.

Notre Dame certainly has more talent coming in than Michigan State on both sides of the ball, but Michigan State always seems to find guys that fit their system well. As a result, they are almost always a competitive team. Don't be surprised if the rivalry between ND and MSU remains a challenging one for the Irish.

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