December 20, 2013

Class of 2014: Who's next?

Michigan State filled a big recruiting need yesterday when defensive back Montae Nicholson of Gateway High school in Pennsylvania selected the Green and White. takes a look at how the last few spots could play out as signing day approaches. In this update we look at the defensive side of the ball.

The Spartans are still actively recruiting several defensive linemen for the class of 2014. We breakdown each of them and our thoughts.

DT Craig Evans of Sun Prairie Highs School in Wisconsin

Michigan State has recruited Evans very hard over the past 12 months. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect he has had nothing but positives to say about the Spartans throughout the process. With that said, Evans has committed to Wisconsin multiple times over that same time frame and was back in Madison recently following his official visit to East Lansing.

I do not think anyone would be shocked if he flipped from Wisconsin and selected Michigan State, but they would certainly be surprised. Evans has stated he will make his "final decision" in early January, keep in mind he still views himself as a Badger commitment.

I cannot recall in my 14 years of covering/following recruiting the last time an in-state Wisconsin commitment flipped from the Badgers. So if history is an indication, this one looks like an uphill battle.

DL Malik McDowell of Southfield High School in Michigan

McDowell is the #1 ranked player in Michigan and the 6-foot-6, 292-prospct has scholarship offers from all over the nation. McDowell is currently in the process of taking his official visits. He has already been to Alabama and Florida and has January visits scheduled with LSU, Florida State and Ohio State.

Despite all of the out of state official visits, most still believe that McDowell will stay in-state and attend either Michigan State or Michigan. The conventional wisdom is that McDowell's parents strongly favor Michigan.

The University of Michigan does a great job of selling the academic angle even if the majority of players end up in the "General Studies" program. It is hard to go against parents' wishes.

DT Daniel Cage of Winton Woods Highs School in Ohio

Cage is one of the top uncommitted players in Ohio for the class of 2014 and the Spartans are viewed as one of his favorites. He recently stated that his top two teams are Michigan State and Louisville. Cage took an official visit Illinois last weekend and has stated he plans on officially visiting Michigan State, Louisville, Missouri and Cincinnati.

Michigan State has had a lot of success with Ohio lineman since Mark Dantonio arrived in East Lansing. Cage camped at Michigan State in the summer of 2012 and had an impressive performance. He outperformed multiple class of 2013 DT prospect that went on to receive BCS offers. I have a feeling that if Cage camped with Coach Burrton this past summer his recruitment could be over.

If Cage visits Michigan State I think the chances are excellent that he becomes a member of the class of 2014. The fear though is that you can be sure that if he visits Louisville first, the Cardinals will certainly try and pressure him into making his commitment before he is able to visit Michigan State.

DE/LB Jamal Davis of Canton McKinley High school in Ohio

Davis is listed as an outside linebacker in the database, but many believe he will eventually slide down and play defensive end. Davis has impressed those who have seen him in action with his overall athleticism. At 6-foot-3m 215-pound Davis has the frame to add more size and keep his explosiveness.

Davis has 11 offers at this point, including ones from Minnesota, Indiana and Louisville. This past fall Davis had an outstanding season for the Bulldogs. He tallied 104 tackles with 21 behind the line of scrimmage.
We spoke with Davis last night and he stated.

"I speak with Michigan State all the time. I talk with Coach Narduzzi and the linebacker coach. Right now I have official visits lined up for Marshall on Jan 17th, Pitt on January 24th and Illinois on January 31st."

Though it looks like his schedule is booked at this time, a scholarship offer from Michigan State would almost certainly change the dynamics.

Based on figures it is likely that Michigan state has 2 or 3 slots lefty for the class of 2014. One of the slots will almost certainly go to an offense lineman. That leaves two for other positions. I full

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