Michigan State’s top targets at RB after Ronnie Walker, and a look at prep stats of Spartans commits

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Ronnie Walker to Indiana; what’s next?

Let the search continue.

Michigan State’s efforts to land a running back in the 2018 class could have finally borne fruit on Monday. Instead, 4-star target (per the 247Sports composite rankings) Ronnie Walker committed to Indiana.

Walker has a longstanding relationship with former Michigan star Mike Hart, who started recruiting him while the running backs coach at Syracuse and continued to do so upon taking the same position at Indiana. That, along with the success of alumni Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard, drew the Hopewell (Va.) standout to the Hoosiers.

So where does Michigan State look now? Landing at least one running back is a crucial task for the Spartans, who could potentially have just three scholarship running backs — two of whom are freshmen season this year — in 2018. The heat likely will turn up on several top targets, who have become high priorities in recent months.

Harold Joiner comes to mind first. At 6-foot-3, the 4-star Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.) running back is a big-bodied beast of an athlete. In early July, he told Land of 10 that Michigan State stood at the top of his list because of its wide open depth chart.

It will take an official visit, though, to put the Spartans in serious consideration for Joiner. Several of his top schools, such as Alabama and LSU, offer him a locational benefit, and he has taken advantage by visiting unofficially. Michigan State simply hasn’t had the chance to build as close a relationship.

With Elijah Collins, it has. The 3-star University of Detroit Jesuit running back has been on Michigan State’s radar for years and, unlike Joiner, has visited. The Spartans now battle Iowa, Mississippi State, Pitt, Purdue and Wisconsin for the 6-foot, 195-pound prospect’s services.

Collins’ former teammate, Scott Nelson, chose Wisconsin last cycle after the Spartans cooled on him late, making the Badgers an attractive option. But Collins, who picked off a pass and scored his team’s only touchdown on Friday, has been courted by the Spartans for longer.

Keep an eye on 3-star Palmetto Ridge (Naples, Fla.) running back DeMarcus Townsend as well, especially if Michigan State can bring him in for an official visit. The prospect of playing in the Big Ten and in Michigan State’s pro-style system appealed to him from the moment he picked up an offer.

The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Townsend doesn’t have the size of the aforementioned backs, but he packs quite a punch nonetheless. In nine games as a junior, he rushed for 833 yards and 11 touchdowns, according to the Naples Daily News.

MSU commitment stat tracker

Now that most of Michigan State’s 2018 class has now kicked off the season, it’s time to get going on our weekly stat tracker, where we collect the numbers of Spartans pledges from the weekend. Here’s what we’ve got for you in our first installment of 2017.

  • Four-star Pickerington (Ohio) Central tight end Trenton Gillison caught 2 passes for 45 yards while his teammate, 4-star defensive back Xavier Henderson, recorded 8 tackles and 2 pass breakups on Thursday, per the Detroit Free Press. Central beat reigning Michigan state champs Detroit Cass Tech, 24-21.
  • Four-star Dearborn (Mich.) Divine Child quarterback Theo Day completed 6 of 13 throws for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns while running for 140 yards and a score on 11 carries, according to The Herald-Palladium. Divine Child beat Benton Harbor (Mich.), 42-12.
  • Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) cornerback Chris Jackson recorded an interception for the second week in a row in a 42-6 win over Pope (Marietta, Ga.), per the Marietta Daily Journal.
  • Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) defensive end Parks Gissinger finished with a solo tackle and a pass defense in his team’s 47-10 thrashing of Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) on Friday, per MaxPreps.
  • Sandusky (Ohio) athlete Javez Alexander threw for a touchdown, ran for two more and returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown in a 41-7 season-opening win over Port Clinton (Ohio), as reported by The News-Messenger.

The post Michigan State’s top targets at RB after Ronnie Walker, and a look at prep stats of Spartans commits appeared first on Land of 10.

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