MSU Lands Top Commit from Wisconsin

With National Signing Day almost 24 hours away, the Michigan State coaching staff is feeling the most pressure since the Rose Bowl. Mark Dantonio and his staff are breathing a little easier Monday night as they earned a commitment from one of the top players on their radar.

Craig Evans, a 6-foot-3, 305 pound defensive tackle from Sun Prairie, Wisc., was originally a Wisconsin commit, but announced his decision to flip to MSU on Twitter Monday night.

This is a huge get for the Spartans, as they were able to grab Evans from one of their top rivals in the Big Ten. According to, Evans is a four-star recruit, the No. 11 DT in the class and the No. 1 player from the state of Wisconsin.

He visited Michigan State back on Dec. 4 for the North Carolina vs. MSU basketball game after reconsidering his verbal commitment to Wisconsin, and re-visited on Jan. 25 for the Michigan vs. MSU basketball game.

It remains to be seen how much of an impact the Spartans’ win in the Rose Bowl will reflect on recruiting, but perhaps this is the beginning. With a Big Ten Championship and a BCS Bowl win fresh in the minds of recruits, Dantonio and his coaching staff will perhaps be able to use that to their advantage in recruiting battles with their conference rivals.

Evans may not be the only defensive recruit for MSU before Signing Day is over. All eyes now are now on five-star defensive end Malik McDowell. McDowell has narrowed it down to a final four schools of MSU, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida State, and plans to announce his decision on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

The 6-foot-7, 290 pound McDowell from Southfield, MI., reportedly favors Michigan State, but his parents would like him to attend either Ohio State or Florida State. He is the No. 2 player at his position and the No. 1 player from the state of Michigan according to Dantonio and his staff will be waiting with bated breath on Wednesday to see if McDowell overrules his parents and commits to MSU.

One other recruit that MSU is waiting on a decision from is defensive tackle Daniel Cage. Cage, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is the No. 27 player at DT and No. 27 in the state according to He reportedly has MSU near, if not at the top of his list, and is also considering Missouri and Louisville, among others.

If MSU is able to land both McDowell and Cage, to go along with Evans and an already strong 2014 class, it will give Mark Dantonio one of his best recruiting classes since being hired in 2007.

Michael Higer is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports