Michigan State football recruiting: Spartans look to round out solid 2014 class

Gregory Shamus

Michigan State has put together another solid recruiting class but will need to close strong in order to break into the Big Ten's upper tier.

Over the past several years, Michigan State's recruiting classes have consistently been ranked in the 4th-6th range in the Big Ten. With 16 commitments on board, the Spartans are on track for a similar finish in the 2014 cycle. According to 247 Sports Composite recruiting index, all 16 of the Spartans' commitment rate as three-star prospects, giving Michigan the 5th-ranked class in the Big Ten and the 33rd-best class in the country.

Michigan State's most highly rated 2014 commitment comes from Gerald Owens of Westfield, N.J. Owens committed to the Spartans in June and his ultimate position at the next level is still up in the air. Owens is listed by most recruiting services as a fullback/running back prospect, but some think he could end up lining up on the defensive side of the ball once he arrives in East Lansing.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio reached into the Chicago suburbs to get a commitment from Brian Allen, the 3rd-ranked center prospect in the country. Allen has offers from 13 other BCS AQ schools but settled on the Spartans in April.

Chris Durkin of Youngstown, Ohio represents the Spartans' quarterback commitment in the 2014 cycle. The 6'4, 216-pound signal-caller is the 16th-ranked pro style quarterback, according to 247 Sports Composite. Durkin chose Michigan State in March over ten other FBS offers, including Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern and Cal.

Michigan State currently finds itself in a battle with Michigan over the top-ranked in-state player, Malik McDowell. McDowell is the 3rd-ranked 2014 defensive end according to the 247 Sports Composite index. He is expected to be an unofficial visitor this weekend in East Lansing when the Spartans take on the Wolverines.

As usual, the Spartans have gotten the bulk of their commitments from the states of Michigan (six) and Ohio (five). Their four commitments from Illinois prospects represents an atypically large haul from The Prairie State.

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