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2011 rewind of the 2009 football recruiting class…


Mark Dantonio started to turn the corner from good to great with the 2009 class.  Not saying his previous two didn't have good players, but in 2009 the depth of talent made a big upswing.  Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

Mark Dantonio started to turn the corner from good to great with the 2009 class. Not saying his previous two didn't have good players, but in 2009 the depth of talent made a big upswing. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.


2011 rewind of the 2009 football recruiting class…

 Every member of this class (other than Patrick White WR ) are still on the roster at MSU. Therefore, I won’t renumber them as many are still very young and haven’t got the opportunity to play. I will, however, leave them in the original order in which we ranked them and give analysis of each.

1.             David Barrent OT 6’8” 293# West Des Moines, IA Barrent is a fine young man. The monster streak we saw in high school hasn’t yet transferred to this level yet. Often times when a player is so dominant in high school it can be because his size is so much bigger than others that he has his way. The biggest concern with Barrent is that he, at times, lacks aggression. He was able to so physically overpower people in high school that there must be some level of frustration when you can’t do it here without great effort. Again, he is a super kid and we have to remember that he is ONLY a sophomore in 2011. There is a tackle spot open for him to win in 2011…he has to go take it.Â

2.             Andrew Maxwell QB 6’3” 196# Midland, MI Maxwell is the real deal. Accurate and smart, he has a cannon of an arm and has all of the tools. Has wowed in practice and my ONLY concern with him is that he should have got more meaningful reps during the season. Had the MSU vs. Alabama game been closer when Cousins got knocked out, you would have seen why I said that all year. He wasn’t ready. That isn’t his fault; it’s the fault of the staff. Maxwell is the real deal.

3.             Chris Norman OLB 6’2” 210# Detroit, MI Chris Norman has played two years and will have a starting spot in 2011. The game, like all freshmen have to endure in 2009, was fast for him, and frankly, he could have benefited from a red-shirt. In 2010 it started to slow down and he showed signs. 2011 should be a break out year for the Spartan Nation to truly see a star.

4.             Blake Treadwell DT 6’3” 270# East Lansing, MI Treadwell has moved to center for the spring and should make a full on push for the starting job. He was a very good and highly recruited OL so this move is fine. With his father moved on to Miami this transition was made easier. Treadwell has already proven he can be dominant at DT, and with his high football IQ is a natural star at the C.

5.             Edwin “ROCK” Baker RB 5’10” 200# Oak Park, MI Rock can do it all.  He should have red-shirted in 2009, and frankly, the staff, in my opinion, mismanaged that year. Healthy in 2010, we saw what he is all about. He is one of a long line of great MSU RBs, and he is as special of a person as he is a player.

6.             Donald Spencer WR 6’4” 201# Ypsilanti, MI You have to remember Spencer is ONLY coming into sophomore eligibility. He has star written all over him. He is strong, he is loved by his teammates, and he has all of the tools to be great. He is one of several young men I am looking forward to seeing play in 2011. Write his name down, he is a good one.

7.             Larry Caper RB 5’11” 215# Battle Creek, MI Larry Caper had a great freshman season in 2009, and frankly, he could have red-shirted in 2010. He came into the season hampered by injury, and although for a sophomore he had a very good year, it wasn’t what he was capable of. In 2011, he and Baker will both be juniors and will be the best 1-2 RB punch in the nation. Like his counterpart Baker, he is as wonderful a person as a player. I make this prediction now that barring injury he and Baker will each run for 1,000 yards this season.

8.             Dion Sims TE 6’5” 224# Orchard Lake, MI As Spartan Nation first reported Sims will return to the MSU football team in 2011. That is a good thing and the right decision by Mark Dantonio. He is a freak physically and despite off field trouble is a kind and gentle young man. Sims was a victim of trusting someone that every young man should be able to in his life. He is committed, fired up, and will be out with vengeance in 2011. He should build on his great rookie season of 2009. He has to be committed to blocking better, but that isn’t a slight. He is the real deal.

9.             Denicos Allen OLB 5’11” 215# Hamilton, OH Denicos is fast, like grease lightning fast. With that being said, he has an OLB spot penciled in for him, but he will get stiff competition for that spot from Steve Gardiner. Gardiner is a better LB at this moment, but older. Allen is faster. If he can learn to be a better LB and use that speed he will take the OLB spot and own it for three years. He has true star potential whether or not he reaches it is up to him.

10.         Jeremy Gainer OLB 6’1” 213# Detroit, MI Gainer was a young man that if you polled his teammates after the 2009 season the vast majority would have told you that he should have played and Norman red-shirted. It is hard to get on the field with so much depth at LB, but this is his shot. A solid player again, you have to remind yourself that he is ONLY coming into his rsSophomore year. There is a lot of football ahead of him and here is another nugget. All of these young men we are talking about wouldn’t even be close YET to seeing the field at an OSU. In a rebuilding project like Mark Dantonio inherited at MSU, the fact that many of these young men are even mentioned speaks of how much talent they truly have.

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11.         Nate Klatt CENTER 6’4” 292# Canal Fulton, OH Klatt is the All American kid. It is impossible not to like him. His parents did an amazing job raising him. He came in with monstrous expectations and is similar to Barrent in an interesting way. He dominated in high school, truly a man among boys. I think the transition has been hard because he dominated in high school, but didn’t step in and do that here yet. He has to learn to play with a mean streak. He will have a fight for the starting job, but certainly will be in the fight.

12.         Henry Conway OT 6’6” 305# Shaker Heights, OH Conway is humble, kind, and as a human being he is everything a father would want from his son.  He suffered a neck injury that he has yet to recover from. Prior to the injury, he was on his way to a starting job last fall as a red-shirt freshman and certainly would have been a four year anchor for the Spartans OL. At this point, I pray that he completely recovers. If he does, he is a difference maker. Frankly, I like him so much personally that my thoughts are for a full recovery and will think about football later. He is participating in winter conditioning and that is a good sign. If 100% this spring and fall he will compete.

13.         Kevin Muma K 6’ 170# Troy, MI Muma is another super kid. He has a big leg and although as expected he got the kickoff duty in 2010, I think his kicks can be a lot better. I am not ripping a freshman youngster. When you think about the fact that he was a freshman, he had a superb 2010 season. Frankly, he is better than what he showed and I think he would say that. Yet again, another high character young man who 2011 should prove to be even better for than 2010.

14.         Jairus Jones 6’2” 210# S Tampa, FL Jones has had flashes. When a young player shows flashes it can also bring frustrations when they don’t do it all the time. That isn’t fair. There is a maturity that comes with playing time and Jones will turn flashes into common place if he continues to work hard. He has a lot of competition and I am anxious to see how he handles it. Does it propel him like it does the great ones, or will he get passed over? I have seen his talent, now I want to see a light bulb go off and have him take a job and reps.

15.         Dan France 6’6” 275# DE North Royalton, OH France has been moved all over in an attempt to get him on the field. He has the talent to be good wherever he plays. He is a smart football player, he cares, and he is a terrific kid. Whatever side of the ball he finally settles down at, expect him to eventually earn a starters’ job. This is one young man that isn’t afraid to compete and I love to watch him practice and play.

16.         Denzel Drone 6’2” 230# DE Plant City, FL Drone is still very young. I am sure you are getting tired of hearing that. A good kid, he has to show a competitive side that has him go all out all the time. Learning to compete at this level is something almost all kids have to do and he is no exception. When Drone realizes that the talent he has mixed with 110% effort on every play could propel him to a career on Sundays, you should see a special player. He is another young man that I can’t wait to see in 2011. Will he embrace the fact that there are only so many game reps and he has a lot of people that want him, or will be fall back? Don’t count the youngster out.

17.         Dana Dixon 6’2” 176# S Detroit, MI Dixon at first glance was disappointing last season. Not off the field where he is a great kid, but on it. Then you slap yourself in the face and realize he was ONLY a freshman. He has all the physical tools to not only be good, to be GREAT. Now it is a matter of maturing on the football field and learning to play with your talent and technique. Dixon is well liked and as he grows up could be a potential star. Again, remember that he wouldn’t have even been talked about as a player at OSU last year or this year.

18.         TyQuan Hammock LB 6’1” 220# Hammock is a monster. The best compliment you can give him is that he is a football player. Watch him on special teams and you can almost see him salivating like a Doberman wanting to crush someone. He moved to FB this season with injuries and when he lays a block on a blitzer it can be a thing of beauty when he uses the proper technique. A true team player that would carry water bottles if asked, he simply has to learn the nuances of the FB spot. Having never played it, once he learns the little things, dear God someone call the ambulance for the people he will leave in his wake.

19.          Bennie Fowler WR 6’2” 180# Detroit, MI Fowler had a great 2010. In 2011 you should see him further develop into one of the best athletes MSU has had. He is a great teammate. He is a great kid, and he is a great football player. He is a playmaker and as he grows and matures, he will make many more.

21.         Micajah Reynolds OG 6’5” #313 Reynolds is back on the OL and is getting better everyday. He is playing well and again needs the time to grow. Many think he is the heir apparent in 2012 to take a guard’s spot since 2011 seems solid with Foreman and Magnus. The only thing between Reynolds and being great is Reynolds. If he wants it, if he will do it EVERY PLAY, he will have it. Another super kid.

22.         Derek Hoebing TE 6’6” 245# Hoebing is yet again another player that people need to step back and think about. A great kid, he had four potential NFL TE’s ahead of him. He is getting better with each practice and should get reps in 2011. Please remember that he is ONLY a sophomore in 2011 and I expect him to be a key cog in 2012. He will play more in 2011, but the advantage with the depth at TE is that like OSU he doesn’t carry the weight of the world being so young.

23.         Corey Freeman DE 6’3” 235# Cleveland Heights, OH. Freeman has a wealth of talent. There is a maturing process at DE that isn’t there for a DT and sometimes fans excited to see these young future stars get impatient. Only a sophomore in 2011, he will have a lot of people around him to compete with. He can’t get down with so much depth ahead of him and quit the fight. If he can mature in 2011, 2012 could be special. Yet again (sorry), watch closely how he handles so much competition. It will be a fight to get any reps on this team on the DL in 2011. Does he fight with an eye on the future or get lost? He has a great fight, so I can’t wait to see.

No Longer with the team:

Patrick White WR

All members of this class (other than White) are still with the Spartan football program. It was the first year that Dantonio had the opportunity to get to know kids more through the process and whereas you saw more losses in his first two classes, you don’t see it as much moving forward as his recruiting style is relationship oriented.