The old American Heritage Dictionary defines the word momentum as a measure of the motion of a body equal to the product of its mass and velocity. The word momentum as measured by college football recruiting analysts, looks to be firmly behind the Spartans these days. Never in all of my thirty years as an MSU football fan do I remember a start like this to a recruiting season.
Two division one coaches (that will go unnamed) outside of the MSU and UM coaching ranks recently shared their views with SpartanNation.com. Both recruit the Midwest heavily and talked specifically how well Mark Dantonioâ€™s staff has built relationships in their home state. The common theme shared by these two respective coaches was about UMâ€™s willingness to ignore the state of Michigan. Michigan is loaded with talent. The UM staff is more willing to look outside of Michigan to former WVU recruiting connections than continue the former bread and butter contacts that UM used to own.
When Dantonio first took the MSU job, the Lansing media gushed about his willingness to build relationships with high school coaches and principals. Every high school in the state of Michigan received a letter from him letting them know he was here. More importantly, that Mark Dantonio was here to stay.
Last November, Detroit publications ran Dantonio through the cheese grater shortly after his post Wolverine Monday morning press conference. It was there that Coach â€œDâ€ made his famous proclamation. â€œLetâ€™s just remember pride comes before the fallâ€¦ can you tell in my toneâ€¦ this game was an important gameâ€¦ so they can mock us all they want to mock usâ€¦ they can print that crap and paste it all over their locker roomâ€¦ Iâ€™m telling them its not overâ€¦ Itâ€™ll never be over here.â€ What sounded like just an intense coach looking out for his kids and program may become a reality sooner than later.
Dantonio came to MSU knowing its culture and knew there was a lot to sell. After all, he had coached here with Nick and Bobby. He knew that the fan base was passionate. He knew they would show up on Saturday. He knew the MSU community was hungry. He knew that he could turn the recruiting tide in the Great Lakes State. He knew all of this, but what many never understood was how rapidly he was going to doing it.
So the 2009 recruiting class looks to be a class that MSU fans will remember. There are two top 100 nationally rated recruits in this class already. The stateâ€™s top quarterback, linebacker, top two running backs and one of the states top receivers are already committed before their senior seasons. More metro Detroit area kids are on their way to East Lansing and we have been told that more will likely commit in the coming months. They are watching as Dantonio and his staff build championship momentum and ride this 2009 class to Pasadena in a couple years.
Ohio has been kind to Dantonio over his coaching career. He recruited Ohio as a Spartan assistant. He certainly made his mark in Ohio while at Ohio State and he filled his Cincy roster with homegrown talent that seems to be paying dividends for Brian Kelly these days. The Spartans will load up in Ohio again this year as the talent in the trenches throughout the Buckeye state is loaded. There is thought to be eight Big Ten level offensive linemen in Ohio this year and this is great news for MSU. OSUâ€™s 2008 OL class was one of the best in the country and they will likely only take 2-3 OLâ€™s this year.
Early momentum is the name of the game in college football recruiting. It appears that Dantonio and his staff have the kind of momentum needed to seize control of the football landscape in the state of Michigan. I have said from the beginning that this UM coaching change was not going to be seamless. The UM staff is having to play catch-up for the first time in over forty years on the state of Michigan recruiting landscape. Better get a hold of it soon Wolvies, weâ€™d hate to see you fall.