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Michigan State enters in-home visit mode
Green means go on the recruiting calendar. Not for recruits this time, but for college football coaches.
The contact period began on Sunday, which allows coaches to conduct face-to-face meetings with prospects, their coaches and their families away from campus. It takes the onus off of the players, who have to schedule campus visits around their busy school and football schedules during the season, and puts it on the coaches who want to convey their interest.
For all the recruiting benefits that would have come with earning a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game, having this week off gives the Michigan State staff more time to hit the road and meet with top targets. And it’s even more important this year. The first early signing period in college football begins Dec. 20, likely taking many recruits off the board in less than four weeks. So the Spartans and others must move quickly.
Longtime Michigan State target Kalon Gervin, a 4-star cornerback in the 247Sports composite ratings, told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong that coach Mark Dantonio and some of the staff would be in to visit him on Monday. The Detroit Cass Tech standout is the only uncommitted recruit of the top 20 prospects from Michigan in 2018. He ranks third among in-state seniors.
Gervin, who had previously been committed to Notre Dame, visited Oregon last weekend. Virginia Tech and others have also been in consideration. His former teammate, Jordan Reid, backed up Luke Campbell and right tackle throughout the year as a true freshman for Michigan State. Gervin plans to announce his decision on Saturday.
Michigan State will also be in to see its top target at a crucial position, wide receiver. And it’s not an easy trip to make. Four-star Samuel Clemens (Schertz, Texas) wide receiver Tommy Bush lives nearly 1,500 miles away from Michigan State yet still made the trip for an official visit the weekend of Nov. 4-5. Now the Spartans will return the favor.
Bush told Land of 10 that wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel plans to visit him on Thursday. Samuel traveled to see Bush play in October. Now that Bush’s season is over, this visit will be focused less on scouting and more on trying to bring him to Michigan State. They can also discuss Samuel’s receiving corps, one that impressed Bush against Penn State.
“All of them were technically sound,” Bush said at the time. “They were all eating. They all had catches, yardage. Everyone out there was just handling business. The quarterback was right on the money.”
Michigan State has two projected wide receivers committed to its 2018 class in 3-star prospects Julian Major and Ja’Vez Alexander. The class as a whole has 18 verbal commitments with room for just a few more.
Spartans offer 4-star prospects
Apart from Michigan and Ohio, Georgia has become one of Michigan State’s favorite places to recruit. The Spartans landed three players from the state in the 2017 class, have two committed to the 2018 class and hope to keep the success going in 2019.
Archer (Lawrenceville, Ga.) junior safety Jalyn Phillips became the latest to pick up an offer. The 4-star prospect shared the news on Monday.
— Jalyn Phillips (@jalyn_phillips) November 27, 2017
Phillips visited Michigan State little more than a year ago when the Spartans beat Rutgers, 49-0, for their lone Big Ten win. Now the Spartans have offered two days after walloping the Scarlet Knights for their seventh conference victory of this season.
Ranked the No. 20 safety in the class and the No. 39 junior in Georgia, Phillips has put together a massive offer list. Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, UCLA and Wisconsin are just a few of the more than 30 programs from which he has announced an offer.
Michigan State currently has two players committed to its 2019 class, both 4-star in-state prospects: offensive tackle Spencer Brown and quarterback Dwan Mathis.
Later on Monday, Michigan State extended an offer to 4-star Salt Lake City East linebacker Tennessee Pututau. The 2018 prospect shared the news in the afternoon.
— Tennessee (@Pu2tau) November 27, 2017
Michigan State already has three linebackers committed to the class — Jeslord Boateng, Chase Kline and Edward Warinner — but has been looking to add another. Pututau, the No. 18 outside linebacker in the class, will be tough to land simply because of his family.
One of Pututau’s brothers, Hauati, plays for Utah. Another, Fua, signed with the Utes before leaving for a Mormon mission, as Hauati did.
Utah, Arizona, BYU Cal, Oregon, UCLA and Wisconsin are among those to have offered the 6-foot-1.5, 260-pound Pututau.
Top Spartans target lands big offer
Gervin is easily the highest-rated senior in Michigan who remains uncommitted, but he’s not the only one who holds a Michigan State offer. The Spartans continue to push hard for La’Darius Jefferson, a 3-star Muskegon (Mich.) quarterback who ranks 31st among 2018 recruits from Michigan.
Jefferson finished out his high school football days in a big way, leading Muskegon to an undefeated record and state championship. He ran for 245 yards and 4 touchdowns Saturday as the Big Reds beat Farmington Hills Harrison 28-10, per MLive. Soon after, he landed an offer from Indiana.
— L A ‘ D A R I U S J E F F E R S O N (@LaDariusJ2) November 26, 2017
The Hoosiers offered Jefferson as a quarterback, which could be bad news for Michigan State. The Spartans offered him as an athlete, but his coach said he would prefer to stay behind center.
“[Michigan State linebackers coach Mike] Tressel had said several times that if he was willing to play linebacker, he’d take him in a heartbeat because he is probably one of the best linebackers around, as well,” Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield said. “But the kid has his mind set on playing offense and being a quarterback. I do know that they have evaluated more of his film.”
Jefferson plans to take his official visit to Michigan State the weekend of Dec. 9-10.
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