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Versatility and Depth In 2011 Class

February 2nd marks the day of the Ground Hog, but most have forgotten about our furry rodent’s holiday in favor of National Signing Day. Yes, it occurs once per year, just like any other holiday, but it ushers in new blood to the world of college football. It sends us all into a tizzy debating rankings, stars and ultimately the capability of the kids that have pledged their services to our favorite school.

Since Mark Dantonio arrived, there has been a concerted effort to recruit the players MSU needs in the trenches. This recruiting class will be no exception. The MSU staff looked for young men that could compete with the likes of Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio State. After the bowl game that ended in an MSU hammering, offensive and defensive lines were clearly in need of better talent. The last few years of recruiting have really bolstered MSU’s depth in these areas, but it takes time to cultivate depth.

Michigan State is expected to receive letters from 21 or 22 recruits today. Four of them will be slated to play offensive line and five of them are projected to play on the defensive line. Half of this class will be slated to play along the offensive and defensive lines. These are the positions that win games. Unfortunately for Michigan State, the two losses came largely because of breakdowns along the offensive and defensive fronts.

Michigan State will also boast a number of high profile skill players that have the ability to line up in a number of places. Michigan State didn’t spend a lot of scholarships on running backs, quarterbacks and receivers. These are positions of depth on the current roster. The kids that MSU took in these positions are very talented and extremely skilled.

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This 2011 class also features four recruits who are projected to play linebacker. The old adage is that you can never have enough good linebackers. Linebackers are key players on special teams. They are naturals to move to fullback. Some one them out grow the LB position and end up on the defensive line. Others are fast enough to line up and play safety. Versatility at linebacker is really important. This class features two of the nation’s top linebackers. All four of these guys have the ability to play multiple spots.

When Coach Dantonio arrived, the offensive and defensive line depth was in shambles. The linebackers were largely made up of MAC level talent and one injury spelled season ending disaster. Depth on both lines has been beefed up over the last few years, but those recruits are just now getting into the fold. Offensive and defensive linemen typically take three years to grow into a Big Ten system. This coaching staff has been addressing these positions of need since the day they arrived. This is a very solid class that has the ability to add needed depth with a handful of guys competing for playing time this fall. Stay tuned for more information on National Signing Day.