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RB DeMarcus Townsend talks Spartans offer
It was Aug. 1, the first day Division I college coaches could send out official offers to 2018 prospects.
DeMarcus Townsend checked Twitter and saw he had received a message. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio wanted him to know he had an offer. And that was it. No phone call. No discussion of visit plans.
“I was a little in shock,” The Palmetto Ridge (Naples, Fla.) running back said. “Just getting an offer from Michigan State is crazy because they’ve had a lot of great players come through the program. It’s a great conference, and they have a great offense. They have a good system over there.”
— DeMarcus Townsend (@DTownsend21) August 1, 2017
Townsend and Michigan State had been in contact for a few months, but he still hadn’t thought an offer would come. He’d seen players such as Le’Veon Bell come through the program and end up in the NFL. Could he be next?
A 3-star prospect and Florida’s No. 44 running back in the 247Sports composite rankings, Townsend has been recruited most heavily by Baylor, Florida International and Toledo. Michigan State, which has yet to land a 2018 running back, has inched closer to that group.
“I guess he just sees me as a pro-style running back,” Townsend said of Dantonio. “They love the way I play. They love my film. They love my attributes.”
One of those attributes is a commitment to academics. Before any athletic goals, Townsend listed achieving “the highest GPA I’ve ever had” as his top priority for his senior year. He’s considering studying exercise science in college.
That attitude led to a quick connection with Michigan State co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, who has been his main recruiter.
“He’s a great coach,” Townsend said. “He keeps it honest with me, and one thing I love about Coach Bollman is he pushes academics.”
Townsend has four main criteria in mind when looking for a school: strong academics, a solid relationship with the coaching staff, a systemic fit and a connection to the campus atmosphere.
To really know how he fits, Townsend will need to take official visits. But first, he’ll focus on cutting his list down to eight.
Top 8 coming soon ‼️
— DeMarcus Townsend (@DTownsend21) August 8, 2017
Then he will focus on scheduling his five allotted visits. There’s no rush on his end to come to a decision; he wants to make the right one. So when will he commit?
“Hopefully after I take my official visits,” he said vaguely.
Other running back recruiting news
On Monday night, one of Michigan State’s top targets, Elijah Collins, cut down his list. Ever since visiting campus on July 31, the University of Detroit Jesuit running back has been a heavy Spartans lean in the 247Sports Crystal Ball projections. So naturally, MSU made the cut.
— AP (@Eli_Collins2) August 8, 2017
Iowa, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Wisconsin also made Collins’ top 6. He noted that he plans to “focus on these six schools going into my senior season.”
As previously noted, the Spartans do not yet have a running back in their 2018 class. Collins has been recruited by some as an outside linebacker, but the 3-star prospect looks primed to run the ball at Michigan State.
Running back has also been an appealing spot for recruits because of the Spartans’ lack of depth. Their “three-headed monster” of Gerald Holmes, Madre London and LJ Scott is expected to be gone following this season, leaving just current true freshmen Weston Bridges and Connor Heyward.
Bridges continues to work his way back from an ACL tear in his left knee, while Heyward did not play much of the position in high school. Michigan State running backs coach Dave Warner spoke Monday about moving Heyward and about depth at the position going forward.
“We started him there because we did not recruit a running back the previous year [in 2016],” Warner said. “We were just looking down the road that we might need some depth there, maybe not this year as much as in years to come.”
Heyward’s move showed just how thin Michigan State will be at running back in 2018 and how whoever joins that class will likely have a chance to play immediately.
Rocket Watts back in East Lansing
Tuesday was another big day for Michigan State with Class of 2019 basketball recruits.
On Monday, the Spartans brought in 5-star combo guard Tyrese Maxey and 3-star wing Quinn Slazinski for visits. It appears they’ve done the same with Detroit prospect Mark “Rocket” Watts a day later.
— Rocket Watts jr (@kingJay79) August 8, 2017
The high-scoring 4-star guard sent out a tweet suggesting he had arrived in East Lansing, though he did not respond to an attempt to confirm he is visiting Michigan State. It’s highly likely, though, as the Spartans have offered and made him a high priority.
Watts also holds offers from such schools as Alabama, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, UNLV and Xavier. But Michigan State has stood out with its longstanding relationship.
“I like the coaching staff, Coach OG [assistant Mike Garland] and [coach Tom] Izzo,” Watts said after his offer in April. “[Izzo is] very cool, and he seems like a coach that stays on you a lot. That’s really what I need.”
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