Results are in: Michigan State’s biggest recruiting need in 2013
A couple of weeks ago, I put up a poll asking what you all thought the biggest need for Michigan State was in its recruiting efforts for 2013.
Here is what you had to say, with my predictions and thoughts on the positions, including my ranks.
1. Offensive lineman 37% (96 votes)
I agree with offensive lineman being at the top. MSU has had some injury problems and lost players on the offensive line. The Spartans have had four pretty good prospects the past two seasons in Donavan Clark, Jack Allen, Benny McGowan and Zach Higgins, but offensive line always is a bit harder to project because of unrefined technique and how players grow and get stronger. MSU will likely be looking to add three players to the line, and I don’t consider it a terrible stretch to say four, even with how selective the staff has been in who it offers scholarships to thus far.
My rank: 1
2. Quarterback 23% (60 votes)
Bringing in a quarterback is a necessity in every class, but with Andrew Maxwell at the helm for the next two years and two solid quarterbacks in each of the past two classes (Connor Cook and Tyler O’Connor), it is less of a “need” and more of an expectation to bring one in. Grabbing an elite prospect would be fantastic, and MSU has offers out to at least five solid prospects at this time.
My rank: 5
3. Defensive line 20% (53 votes)
The d-line has plenty of depth, that is for sure, but it is all unproven at this point on the interior. Will Gholston could bolt for the pros early after this year, his size and skills are rare and he likely will be a projected top-15 pick in the upcoming draft. Marcus Rush has three years of eligibility remaining. Pulling in a solid defensive end or two is a priority in this class.
Defensive tackles include Brandon Clemons, Matt Ramondo, James Kittredge, Micajah Reynolds and Anthony Rashad White, but only White and Reynolds have played much. Incoming freshman David Fennell also is a name to remember, but the Spartans would love to bring in a strong defensive tackle prospect as well.
My rank: 2
4. Wide receiver 7% (18 votes)
Wide receiver is somewhat on the backburner in this class, in my opinion and seemingly in the staff’s as well. It seems unlikely more than one will be brought in, and two would be the maximum. In the 2012 class, Mark Dantonio and his staff brought in four (Aaron Burbridge, Kyle Kerrick, Macgarrett Kings, Monty Madaris) plus the transfer of DeAnthony Arnett. There are no seniors at the position this year and plenty of talent, just lacking experience — similar to defensive tackle.
It is a good position for MSU, assuming some of that talent shows itself to be great in spring practices and in the fall, because the staff can be very picky with the wide receiver it takes in this class.
My rank: 8
5. Running back 5% (13 votes)
Running back should be higher on this list, and I think it would have been if MSU had not already gained two commits at the position. Edwin Baker left early, Larry Caper is a senior this year, and Le’Veon Bell will be a junior. If Bell has a huge year, he could consider bolting a year early for the NFL. Behind them are three unproven backs, led by Nick Hill.
The commitments of Gerald Holmes and R.J. Shelton were important for the class to lock up. Both are great prospects.
My rank: 4
6. Tight end 4% (10 votes)
This might be the thinnest position on the roster currently. Dion Sims is the only returning player with any experience. Paul Lang should see the field, and one of the incoming freshmen — Josiah Price and Evan Jones — might have to contribute. Jones has great size, and could move inside to play tackle in my opinion, which increases my concerns about the depth.
Given the importance of tight ends in Michigan State’s offense, there needs to be a talented prospects or two brought in at tight end in 2013.
My rank: 3
7. Defensive back 3% (9 votes)
Depth … noticing a trend? The Spartans have one of the nation’s top secondaries heading into 2012, with two juniors (Isaiah Lewis and Darqueze Dennard) and a senior (Johnny Adams) taking three spots. The talent behind them is huge, with incoming freshman Demetrious Cox and players already on the roster such as Mylan Hicks, R.J. Williamson, Trae Waynes, Dana Dixon and Kurtis Drummond. Most of those guys will be in competition for the second starting safety spot to replace Trenton Robinson.
The staff already received a verbal commitment from Jalyn Powell at safety and likely will take two more defensive backs, a corner and a safety.
My rank: 7
8. Linebacker 2% (4 votes)
Linebacker is not a present need, but in the next two years MSU will lose Chris Norman (senior), Max Bullough (junior) and Denicos Allen (junior). The depth behind them is phenomenal with five-star recruit Lawrence Thomas in the wings, as well as Darien Harris and Ed Davis — all of whom Pat Narduzzi is incredibly high on. Jon Reschke already has committed to MSU for 2013.
My rank: 6