May 23, 2013
SpartanMag.com: Recruiting News and Notes
Earlier this week Rivals.com updated their individual player rankings and Michigan State saw a bump up the national recruiting rankings. Who are the top prospect on the board at the offensive line position? Find out this and more.
Offensive line: Spartans target elite prospects
SpartanMag.com has been contacting numerous offensive line prospects this week trying to get a gauge at what players the staff is focused on. What we have learned is that at this point in time the staff is focused on a few high-level prospects and if new offers come they will almost certainly have to be earned at camp.
So who are the players the staff has at the top of the board at the offensive line spot?
Jamarco Jones of Chicago De La Salle High School in Illinois
Jones has a top 4 of Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan. The Spartans are looking to capitalize on success they are having in Illinois. Jones, Allen and Gianacakos would be impressive.
Roderick Johnson of Hazelwood Central High School in Missouri
The massive prospect took a visit to Michigan State earlier this spring. Johnson has stated he has no favorites and is still wide open at this point.
Alex Bookser of Mount Lebanon High School in Pennsylvania
The staff hopes to have Bookser on campus this summer. The Spartans have landed some outstanding players from Western PA. the last few year. PSU will only take around a dozen players for 2014.
The above three players are all Plan A type recruits that the staff would love to see in Green and White. They would gladly take more than 1 if possible.
Several other offensive line prospects are under evaluation and could earn an offer at camp with a strong performance. Two of the most notable are:
Chance Sorrell of Middletown High School in Ohio
Sorrell is listed as a tight end in the rivals.com database, but most teams see him growing into an offensive tackle prospect. He could easily follow a progression similar to current Spartan starting OT Dan France.
Danny Burns of Fairfield High School in Ohio
Burns is a massive prospect that is seeing his stock rise this spring. Coach Mark Staten has been to his school and the Spartans want him on campus to meet with Coach Dantonio and learn about the program.
Spartans climb the rankings
Earlier this week Rivals.com updated their individual player rankings and Michigan State saw a bump up the national recruiting rankings. The Spartans are now ranked 20th in the nation for the class of 2014. Michigan State shares that ranking with the University of Oklahoma. Both the Spartans and the Sooners currently have 8 players verbally committed.
As far as the Big Ten, the Spartans rank 5th in the conference behind Michigan (7th), Ohio State (9th), Northwestern (12th) and Penn State (15th). When you base the recruiting rankings on average ranking per player the Spartans move ahead of the Nittany Lions and Ohio State moves to the top the Big Ten recruiting rankings.
The Spartans movement in the rankings is primarily due to two players, defensive tackle Enoch Smith Jr. of Mount Carmel High School in Illinois and tight end Matt Sokol of Rochester Adams High School in Michigan.
Smith Jr. was elevated form a 3-star recruit to a 4-star recruit and is now a member of the Rivals250 which is comprised of the top 250 recruits in the nation. Smith Jr. checks in at number 237 and is rated the 19th best defensive tackle prospect in the nation for the class of 2014. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Smith Jr. had an outstanding performance earlier this month at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour.
Sokol was moved up from an unranked recruit to a 3-star recruit based on his performance at multiple camps and combines this spring. Sokol plays quarterback for Rochester Adams High School so it was difficult for analysts to rank him accurately until they were able to see he perform in person this spring. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Sokol showed exceptional athletic ability for a player his size and should have no problem making the transition to tight end in college.
Spartan target a hot commodity
One of the players that the Spartan staff is actively recruiting for the class of 2014 is running back Chris James of Notre Dame School for Boys in Illinois. Michigan State was one of the first BCS schools to offer James a scholarship and he has seen his stock continually rise. This week his Rivals.com position ranking shot up 20 spots from the #53 running back to the #33.
Last week James announced a top 3 of Michigan State, Iowa and Pittsburgh, but that list has since been expanded due to another new scholarship. Earlier this week the Wisconsin Badgers threw their hat into the ring and offered the 5-foot-9, 212-pound James.
James is still looking to make his college decision this summer. He informed SpartanMag.com that he plans on visiting his top choices with his family and then will make his choice shortly afterwards. James, who rushed for over 2000-yards a a junior, is currently ranked a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com.
Class will be bigger
The class of 2014 will be bigger in numbers than the class of 2013. The Spartans will be adding 17 players from the class of 2013 this summer. For the class of 2014 the number will likely be in the 20-player range.
The Spartans have experienced some attrition due to early departure to NFL, injuries and playing-time issues that has added room to the roster. We expect the position breakdown to look as follows:
QB: 1 scholarship
RB: 2 scholarships
WR: 1 scholarship
TE: 1 or 2 scholarships
OL: 3 or 4 scholarships
DE: 2 scholarships
DT: 2 scholarships
LB: 3 or 4 scholarships
DB: 3 scholarships
Total 18-20 scholarships. If you assume Michigan State could sign more than 20 player, the additional scholarships could go to the defensive line or wide receiver spots. If I was going to guess right now, I would think 21 new players will sign National Letters of Intent next February.
I think Darius West may join the Kentucky crowd. With that said, I am willing to bet heavily that before any 2014 UK recruit graduates they have a coaching change. That change will occur either due to success or lack of success. If Stoops wins at UK, the NFL or SEC big dogs will come calling.
I think Matt Morrissey has a solid chance of earning an offer if he camps at Michigan State. I have talked with people who I trust on evaluation and they believe he has a chance to be very special at next level. He has the "it" factor as far as making plays on either side of the ball.
If MSU adds either Nathaniel Deversp of Ohio or David Beedle of Michigan I think they will still look to add another defensive tackle to the mix. I think Florida or Virginia will be the place to look with DL Coach Ron Burton having a strong presence in the recruitment.
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