After a season to forget in 2016, the Spartans seem anxious and ready to get off on the right foot for their 2017 campaign. Michigan State signed 27 recruits to their program on National Signing Day, coming in with the 34th ranked recruiting class according to 24/7 Sports, where they had the Spartans ranked at 17 last season.
These new Spartans will be given the tough, but willing task of turning this football team back around to its prominence it had just two seasons ago when they won the Big Ten Championship and clinched a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Nobody jumped out of a plane announcing their commitment, nobody wore six different shirts with the school on it and there was no coach jumping into pools with recruits, rather, National Signing Day in East Lansing went how things typically go under head coach Mark Dantonio, business-like. Dantonio was using his Twitter account to share live updates and brief analysis of each recruit as their letters of intent came into the school.
When asked about other schools using more flamboyant ways to recruit kids and having flashy National Signing Day events, Dantonio kept it rather simple during the day. “I just put on some hats today, I thought that was big of me. I’m stepping out” he said.
This recruiting class is by no means a homerun, if anything, one would call it as average as it can be following a disappointing and unexpected 3-9 season. I’m not too keen on rating recruiting classes immediately following their signings because I find it to be quite a gamble doing so, and it’s tough to put a grade on these players when we don’t know much more than a star rating (if they even have one) that they are given by recruiters.
There are some very bright spots within the class that Dantonio has to feel optimistic about. The Spartans reeled in four four-star recruits and 17 three-star recruits. The headliners of the class include Mr. Football and do-it-all wide receiver Cody White, three-star Iowa quarterback Rocky Lombardi, four-star tight end Matt Dotson and the highest rated recruit in four-star offensive lineman Kevin Jarvis.
Dantonio is a firm believer on recruiting players who have the mentality that they can come into a great program and help out immediately. “We look at programs and we look at players within those programs and it tells a story,” Dantonio said. “Tells a story of who’s coaching those guys. A guy like John Rodenberg coaching Matt Dotson, and on it goes.”
Three of the other top rated recruits in the class, tight end Jack Camper, wide receiver Hunter Rison and cornerback Josiah Scott have already been on campus as early enrollees. The Spartans are eager to make up for a disappointing season last year, and these new players coming in, many of whom could see valuable play time right away, are anxious and ready to get to work to bring this program back to the success it’s been accustomed to seeing in the last eight or nine years.
Dantonio is a coach who deeply admires the loyalty that their recruits show to the coaching staff and the fact that they stay willing to buy into what the program preaches.
“This begins not just today. It began a year and a half ago for some of these young men,” Dantonio said. “They’re going to have a chance to do extraordinary things here at Michigan State.”