EAST LANSING — Tuesday’s announcement of Michigan State football head coach Mark Dantonio’s resignation came at a terrible time for the Spartans. With National Signing Day less than 24 hours away, Dantonio’s decision to leave his position atop the football program was a pivotal one in the Spartans’ recruiting class this offseason; a decision that was felt during the signing day process on Wednesday.
Michigan State had an uneventful signing day on Wednesday as the program landed zero new recruits and did not officially sign any committed recruits. The college football recruiting holiday was overshadowed by larger and (arguably) more important news in East Lansing: the search for Michigan State football’s next head coach.
Although Dantonio’s resignation lands at a poor time for the storied Big Ten program, it also comes at an interesting and enlightening time for Michigan State. One of the largest factors in any college football coaching search is an individual’s ability to recruit, and what better example of that than Michigan State’s rather poor performance in this year’s recruiting scene?
According to 247 Sports, Michigan State finished National Signing Day with the 43rd best-recruiting class in the nation… the university’s worst ranking since finishing at 42nd in 2008. It also comes as the 10th best recruiting class in the Big Ten. It’s the first recruiting class since 2003 that the school has not landed a nationally-ranked top 300 recruit, according to 247 sports.
Although it’s certainly a down year for Spartan recruiting, this class still has some bright spots looking forward. The group is headlined by 6-foot, 215-pound linebacker Darius Snow from Carrollton Texas. Snow is a solid linebacker with good vision while finding the ball carrier and does very well in pass defense situations. He’s currently ranked as the 28th best linebacker in the nation and is certainly the marquee recruit for Michigan State on the defensive side of the ball. On the offensive side, it’s running back Jordon Simmons.
Simmons is a 5-foot10, 185-pound back from Powder Springs, Georgia. He rushed for over 1200 yards and 22 touchdowns for McEachern High School during his junior season. He’s a dual-threat back who can come out of the backfield as a receiver and make a play (this is something the Spartans experimented with during Dantonio’s final season with running back Elijah Collins). He also has an innate ability to follow his blocks and make plays after contact. He’s well-bred for success at Michigan State. However, Simmons did not sign with Michigan State on Wednesday, and although he has verbally committed to the university, his commitment has not been set in stone and may change in the future.
The Spartans finish the 2020 recruiting class with a total of 22 commitments from high school recruits. All 22 are three-star recruits, according to 247 sports. The position breakdown is as follows:
Quarterbacks – 1
Running backs – 2
Receivers – 5
O-linemen – 2
D-linemen – 6
Linebackers – 4
Defensive backs – 1
Special Teams – 1
Brendan Schabath is a general assignment reporter at Impact 89FM WDBM. Follow him on Twitter at @Bschabath3.