Michigan State has become one of the better programs in the Big Ten over the past few years. The Spartans don't receive nearly the hype as some of their conference rivals, but have gone about their business and created one of the top defensive cultures in the nation.
The same role applies to Michigan State when it comes to recruiting, as they don't get nearly the hype that their rivals do, but quietly produce solid classes. Their 2013 class is only 18 players, but is loaded with three-star players.
Michigan State's classes have regressed somewhat with the rise of Michigan and Notre Dame, but the results on the field generally have been very positive. 2012 was a transitional year for the Spartans, and an excellent defense was wasted by an offense that struggled mightily throwing the ball.This class may not immediately help the MSU passing attack, but it does give some hope for the not-so-distant future.
Michigan State may not be recruiting on the same level as Ohio State and Michigan right now, but it's programs like the Spartans that are indicative of the Big Ten's health.
Bud Elliott’s grade
B. Michigan State, fresh off a very successful few years, was out-recruited by Penn State, which is operating under crippling sanctions. The Spartans landed only four four-star players. Michigan State was soundly beaten by Michigan on the recruiting trail, and in-state, as they signed only three of the state's top-15 players, to Michigan's eight.
However, all is not doom and gloom. Quarterback is the one position that can really change a game, and Michigan State landed a very good one in Damion Terry. The Spartans are also very good, like South Carolina, at finding players who fit their system and then developing them.
Top three players
Terry appears to be the top player in the Spartans' 2013 recruiting class. The 6'4", 218-pound Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep product is rated as one of the top-10 dual threat quarterbacks in the 2013 recruiting cycle, and could potentially challenge the incumbent Andrew Maxwell when he gets to East Lansing. Maxwell struggled mightily in 2012, and if he gets off to another slow start in 2013, head coach Mark Dantonio may make a change. Here's what SB Nation's Michigan State blog, The Only Colors, thought about Terry:
In Terry, MSU is getting a player with a strong arm and the ability to make plays with his legs. He has great touch on the deep ball and pocket presence. The issue with Terry has been his accuracy.
Athlete Delton Williams is Terry's high school teammate at Cathedral Prep, and is also going to be suiting up for the Spartans next year. The 6'2", 205-pound, two-way player spent time at safety and running back, but will likely concentrate on the defensive side of the ball for the Spartans.
Another top player that the Spartans are bringing in is inside linebacker Jon Reschke. The Bloomington Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice product is a four-star recruit, and stuck with Michigan State after receiving an offer from rival Michigan back in November. Here's The Only Colors' breakdown on him:
The heir apparent to Max Bullough at the Mike linebacker position, Reschke led Brother Rice to back-to-back state titles in his final two years of high school. Simply put, the kid is a beast. He is incredibly smart on the field and is a gym rat and film addict - all the makings of a great player. He gets to the ball quickly and controls the defense. If this sounds familiar ... that is because these are the same things people talk about with Bullough. He plays well sideline-to-sideline and is relentless in his pursuit of the ball carrier.
Top three rival classes
Unfortunately for Michigan State, their rivals are out-recruiting them. Both Michigan and Notre Dame had top-five classes in 2013, and Michigan State's class is in the mid-30s. The Spartans' other big rival at this point is probably Wisconsin, and the Badgers are roughly keeping pace with a similarly rated class. The onus will be on Dantonio and the staff to develop these players, rather than rely more on their talent level.
Biggest National Signing Day drama
Signing Day offered very little in the way of drama for Michigan State. They had their 2013 class essentially sewn up before Wednesday, and it would seem that the staff has already turned its attention to 2014.
Notes from SB Nation blogs
From The Only Colors' detailed Signing Day blog, a writeup on three-star corner Darian Hicks:
Hicks fits the mold of what MSU loves in its cornerbacks: Physical guys who tackle well and get good breaks on the ball. Hicks is more of a cover corner than a run stopper, but he is pretty well balanced. Hicks also has the potential to contribute on special teams, too. The best part of Hicks committing to MSU was he was a Plan A guy from the start for the Spartans - and they got their guy.
Full class, from school's official live blog
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio introduced the Spartans' 2013 recruiting class Wednesday afternoon at a press conference inside the Clara Bell Smith Center Auditorium.
The class features 18 players representing six states (Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) and Ontario.
Coach Dantonio has concluded his signing day press conference. A complete transcript will be available later today on msuspartans.com.
After showing a highlight video of each signee to the media, Coach Dantonio is now formally introducing the recruiting class to reporters.3:15 p.m.
The CBS Interactive websites are currently experiencing technical difficulties with live web streaming. We apologize for the inconvenience.10:44 a.m.
James Bodanis, DL, 6-5, 295, Toronto, Ontario (University of Toronto)
Jalyn Powell, DB, 6-2, 185, Warren, Ohio (Warren G. Harding)
Delton Williams, ATH, 6-2, 205, Erie, Pa. (Cathedral Prep)
Damion Terry, QB, 6-4, 220, Erie, Pa. (Cathedral Prep)
Dylan Chmura, TE, 6-5, 238, Waukesha, Wis. (Waukesha West)
R.J. Shelton, RB, 5-11, 190, Beaver Dam, Wis. (Beaver Dam)
Demetrius Cooper, DE, 6-5, 220, Chicago, Ill. (Percy L. Julian)
Dennis Finley, OL, 6-6, 270, Detroit, Mich. (Cass Tech)
Darian Hicks, DB, 6-0, 175, Solon, Ohio (Solon)
Jon Reschke, LB, 6-2, 230, Sterling Heights, Mich. (Brother Rice)
Jay Harris, WR, 5-10, 180, Downingtown, Pa. (Downingtown East)
Justin Williams, CB, 6-1, 180, Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Treasure Coast)
Michael Geiger, K, 5-9, 180, Toledo, Ohio (Ottawa Hills)
Noah Jones, DL, 6-3, 275, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Dillard)
Gerald Holmes, RB, 6-1, 205, Flint, Mich. (Carman-Ainsworth).
Devyn Salmon, DT, 6-1, 285, Plant City, Fla. (Plant City).
The first fax received was from Shane Jones at 7:08 a.m. (LB, 6-1, 225, Cincinnati, Ohio (Archbishop Moeller).
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