Few programs endured a rougher spring on the recruiting trail than Michigan State. The Spartans appeared to have elevated their national title hopes for the upcoming season when they earned a verbal commitment from five-star center Caleb Swanigan, only to watch Swanigan renounce his pledge and choose a different Big Ten program, Purdue, less than a month later.
The news the Spartans received this week should help them put the Swanigan saga in the rearview mirror. Joshua Langford announced on social media Monday that he has committed to Michigan State. The five-star guard in the class of 2016 was in East Lansing for three days last week, according to Scout.com’s Evan Daniels, before informing the Spartans of his choice on Sunday night.
"I just feel like the family atmosphere is something that is unreal," Langford said of Michigan State, which first offered him a scholarship during a visit there last summer. "They were more real than any other schools have been. I did a lot of praying and talking to God and just felt like it was the best fit for me as a basketball player and as a young man."
Langford was sidelined for three weeks after undergoing finger surgery in December, but still managed to lead Madison (Ala.) Academy to its second state championship in three years. The junior was named the 2015 Gatorade Alabama Boys Basketball Player of the Year and finished second to 2015 Alabama commit Dazon Ingram in the state’s Mr. Basketball Award voting.
Rivals.com ranks Langford the No. 17 player in the class of 2016. In four games with the Atlanta Celtics on the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet circuit this year, he averaged 22.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 43.5% from the field, 38.3% from three-point range. At 6’6” and 200 pounds, Langford is highly regarded for his scoring and playmaking ability.
Langford joins four-star center Nick Ward as the second player in the class of 2016 to commit to the Spartans. Michigan State will now turn its attention toward to two blue-chip prospects from Michigan. University of Detroit Jesuit High point guard Cassius Winston and small forward Miles Bridges—who attends Huntington Prep in West Virginia but hails from Flint, Mich.—are reportedly considering the Spartans.
Both players are ranked in the top 30 of the 2016 Rivals150.
Michigan State will need to fend off a host of high-major powers to get either of those prospects, but even landing one would put the Spartans on track to land one of the top recruiting classes in the country. Regardless of the other prospects Michigan State adds to its 2016 haul, the addition of Langford could prove important as the Spartans seek to fortify their backcourt for 2016-17.
Guard Travis Trice graduated in May, and both Denzel Valentine and Byrn Forbes set will expire their eligibility this season. In their place, Michigan State likely will lean on Langford, West Virginia transfer Eron Harris, Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn, Alvin Ellis III and incoming freshman Kyle Ahrens and Matt McQuaid.