Taking a Look Back at Mark Dantonio's First MSU Recruiting Class: 2007

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Greg Jones Has Emerged from the 2007 as the Biggest Star.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Greg Jones Has Emerged from the 2007 as the Biggest Star. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Taking a look back at Mark Dantonio’s first recruiting class. The 2007 class revisited.

 

  1. Greg Jones LB Original Ranking: 8 Greg Jones came in with high hopes and exceeded them all. He has turned into a star, and no matter what anyone else in this class accomplishes he is clearly the star.
  2. Joel Foreman OG Original Ranking: 19 Foreman red-shirted as all offensive line recruits do under Dantonio and turned it into a red-shirt freshman All American campaign. He has since progressed and is a clear NFL prospect. Was by far the best OL for MSU during the 2009 season.
  3. Kirk Cousins QB Original Ranking: 20 Cousins had an excellent sophomore campaign and showed an NFL arm. He should make great progress as a junior. Cousins was rated very low in Dantonio’s first class. The Spartans needed a QB in that class simply to avoid killing Brian Hoyer in practice. Cousins wasn’t the first, second or even the third choice. Cousins has proved all of his critics wrong. I said in February 2007, “I wouldn’t be shocked if he made it happen, I just think he has a long hill to climb.” A sentiment shared inside and outside the Duffy at the time. 
  4. Aaron Bates P/K Original Ranking: 3 I said at the time that Bates was a huge get for Dantonio and he has done nothing but make me look a lot smarter than I am. He is a great punter and young man, and a big 2010 season will get him a shot at the NFL.
  5. Chris L. Rucker CB Original Ranking: 7 Rucker has some off-field issues. He has been a long time starter and even with a poor 2009 season has proven his talent in prior seasons. CLR has proven that he can play at this level and 2010 should be a bounce back season.
  6. Garrett Celek TE Original Ranking: 18 Celek suffered an injury last season when a player no longer on the team applied a cheap shot hit to him in a non contact situation. He has sure hands and although the TE position was underused in 2009, he has all the tangibles and intangibles to be great.
  7.  B.J. Cunningham WR Original Ranking: 11 Cunningham has some off-field issues. After red-shirting he has showed great potential and if the off-field issues get addressed, should have a very solid 2010 season as the number one WR.
  8. Kevin Pickelman DT Original Ranking: 13 Pickelman is growing into his position and has done an excellent job contributing. He is a very good player and should have a break out season in 2010 and really take off. He has a good work ethic and he has shown ability in spurts. He will be one of my keys in 2010 for a big Spartan season and when he graduates, should be higher than 8th on this list.
  9. Mark Dell WR Original Ranking: 2 He has had some off-field issues. He disappears for periods of time and he also makes drops. In my opinion, he is one of the most talented young men on the team, second only to Jeremiah. I am hoping that Dell comes back ready for a big senior year.
  10. Jared McGaha OT Original Ranking: 14 McGaha is a fine and talented young man. He couldn’t capture the RG spot last season and will have a lot of competition in 2010. This spring is gigantic for McGaha and he will get the shot to earn that starting RG spot. It is critical for Jared to win and secure that #1 spot this spring and not have to battle to get it in the fall.
  11. Chris D. Rucker Original Ranking: 16 Chris D. has amazed coaches and players in practice, but has not yet been able to make that next step and show it in the game. He did red-shirt, so as he heads into his junior campaign, we certainly can hope that he produces. He has the talent he now has to do it under the lights.
  12. Antonio Jeremiah DT Original Ranking: 1 Jeremiah has been a disappointment. He was sent to the offensive side of the ball after playing early in his career on defense. He is the single most gifted player on this team with God given ability, yet he doesn’t do the things to use it in my opinion. He has had non-football issues that he has had to deal with including, but not limited to, his weight. 
  13. Oren Wilson DT Original Ranking: 15 Wilson should be higher than 13th based solely on his play. Not only was he part of the much-publicized Rather Hall incident, he went to the bowl game and played knowing his teammates were back at home. Even when the coaches knew that there were two others involved and implored them to come forward and admit it, he didn’t. I like Wilson and his play deserves a higher rank, but in my opinion he shouldn’t be allowed back on this football team.

 

Incomplete:

Arthur Ray Jr. OG Original Ranking: 5 It was discovered soon after he became a Spartan that he had cancer. Mark Dantonio has said that he expects Ray to be a captain one day and I agree. He is running now and hopes to finally be able to compete come fall. He should be able to get a medical red shirt so this would technically be a red shirt sophomore season.

 

If Ray makes it back on the field and he has done nothing to show he doesn’t have the will, I expect him to become a starter before he leaves MSU.

 

Unique Circumstances:

Nick Foles QB Foles was not originally rated as he came to MSU after signing day on February 19, 2007. He left MSU for Arizona when Mark Dantonio was wooing Keith Nichol. After sitting out a season due to NCAA transfer rules, he was a starter last season and had an incredible campaign. He is getting incredible national attention and there is sentiment that if he has another strong season; he could leave early for the NFL. As of right now, most scouts project him as at least a second round pick. A good 2010 season could move him to the first round.

 

No Longer Part of the Program

  • Andre Anderson RB 
  • Chase Dumphord OG 
  • Ryan Wheat DT 
  • Ishmyl Johnson 
  • Ashton Leggett
  • David Duran