A 2011 look back at Mark Dantonio’s first recruiting class. The 2007 class revisited.

Hondo S. Carpenter

 

Taking a closer look at Mark Dantonio's first class in 2007.  Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.
Taking a closer look at Mark Dantonio's first class in 2007. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

 

A 2011 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. A two-time All American, and no matter what anyone else in this class accomplishes he is clearly the star. He will be drafted in the 2011 draft.
  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. He was by far the best OL for MSU during the 2010 season.
  3. Kirk Cousins QB Original Ranking: 20 Cousins had an excellent junior campaign and showed an NFL arm. He 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 will get a shot at the NFL in 2011 and should have a long career.
  5. Chris L. Rucker CB Original Ranking: 7 Rucker has some off-field issues. He was a long time starter and even with a less than stellar 2010 season, he will get a shot at the NFL in 2011.Â
  6. Mark Dell WR Original Ranking: 2 I have never been more proud of an MSU player in all my years. I had continually said how Dell was the second most talented player in this class. In his senior year he turned it on. He was a great leader on and off the field. Dell will get an NFL shot. Some felt my criticism of Dell meant I didn’t like him. Not true. I was frustrated seeing someone with such talent wasting it. He is proof that you can’t quit on a kid.
  7.  B.J. Cunningham WR Original Ranking: 11 In 2010 BJC showed what he had and a stellar 2011 can propel him up draft boards. He will get an NFL shot and frankly this WR with guts to play across the middle has NFL scouts eye. A solid 2011 can move him to the top 5 of this class.
  8. Garrett Celek TE Original Ranking: 18 Celek suffered an injury last season and sadly that is becoming the definition of his career. He has all the tangibles and intangibles to be great. If healthy he can be the #1 TE on a team loaded at TE. He has all the tools to play in the NFL, if he can stay healthy.
  9. 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 2011 if he can stay healthy. He has a good work ethic and he has shown ability in spurts. One of my keys in 2011 for another double digit win season. When he graduates, should be higher than 9th on this list.
  10. Jared McGaha OT Original Ranking: 14 McGaha is a fine and talented young man. He couldn’t capture an OL spot last season and will have a lot of competition in 2011. This spring is gigantic for McGaha and he will get the shot to earn that starting OL 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 senior 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 and now back to 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. He has cost himself millions of dollars as he has NFL talent. I don’t know of another player I have been more disappointed in ever. Not because I think he is a bad guy, but because he doesn’t get the most out of his talent. If you put Greg Jones or Jon Misch’s heart in him, he would be a #1 NFL draft pick. 

 

 

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.Â

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 the last two seasons and has been nothing short of incredible. He is getting massive national attention and there is sentiment he could have left early for the NFL this season. As of right now, most scouts project him as a 2012 NFL first round pick.  

No Longer Part of the Program

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

 

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