A Closer Look at the 2011 Football Recruiting Class

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The 2011 recruiting class is going to be potentially one of the deepest classes in recent history, both in Michigan and nationwide.


Mark Dantonio is on the march for the 2011 class!  Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Mark Dantonio is on the march for the 2011 class! Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

The current Spartan coaching staff has slowly been expanding to a more national recruiting board with each passing year. This past year they made an impact on the national recruiting scene and will be in prime position to get some of the top national recruits this year.

If the Spartans experience a successful season on the field, this could end up being the highest rated recruiting class in Michigan State history. Even if they don’t put up a phenomenal season on the field, this will still end up being a top 25 recruiting class because this coaching staff has made that big of an impact on high school coaches and these players. Currently the Spartans will be looking to take 21 prospects from the 2011 class.

The Spartans top priority for the 2011 class will be the defensive backfield. This class of defensive back prospects is much stronger then the class of 2010, and may be the strongest position group of this loaded 2011 class.

The Spartans are not the type to just give away scholarships, and that is why you saw them go only after their “A-list” defensive backs in the 2010 class. They knew the 2011 class had much more talent and they knew that they are in good standing with a lot of the top defensive back prospects for the 2011 class. I expect the defensive backfield to take the highest number of Michigan State’s scholarships out of any position group for the 2011 class.

Another position group that is stacked in the 2011 class is the linebacker position. There are a lot of very talented prospects that should be highly rated nationally. With Greg Jones, Eric Gordon, and Jon Misch all leaving next year, the Spartans have also put this position as a top priority. Possibly the two best linebackers in the country will be coming right from the Midwest with Lawrence Thomas hailing from Detroit and Andre Sturdivant hailing from Cleveland.

All of Michigan State’s other positions currently have a lot of talent and depth which will allow the staff to be much more selective in their offers

The Spartans will have no problem continuing to add depth to the running back with high quality prospects. Currently, Michigan State has two outstanding backs in Caper and Baker who will be much improved for their sophomore campaigns, and they have two unproven backs in Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill and LeVeon Bell. Depending on the impact of Langford, Bell and Hill, the Spartans could end up taking 3 running backs in 2011.

The Wide Receiver position has a lot of young, unproven talent. As the season wears on, the staff may make this even a bigger priority, depending on how the young receivers perform. This young position group will get a chance to shine early.

The Offensive line is going to be extremely young next year, however, you can never have enough depth on the line, especially when you are a smash-mouth team. The Spartans are in good standings with many highly rated prospects. They will sign a good number of offensive linemen with this class and continue adding extremely talented depth to the offensive line.

The Defensive Line will have a lot of talent and depth next year; they have 14 capable defensive linemen, which makes this a lower priority for 2011. However, this has not stopped the staff from offering some of the top d-lineman in the country. You can never have enough offensive or defensive lineman and they will go after the best.

The Tight End position is a position of great strength and depth for the Spartans and will continue to be for the next couple of years. Even after Charlie Gantt graduates next year, the Spartans will still have four very talented Tight Ends with Sims, Celek, Linthicum, and Hoebing. The Spartans have shown interest in a couple of very talented prospects but I would expect them to sign one and only one for this class.

The Quarterback position is another position of low priority at this point. However look for the Spartans to sign one very high caliber prospect, which will allow them to be more flexible with Keith Nichol, and prevent them from having to bring in two QB’s with the 2012 class. They would like to get one QB, but they will be very picky and if they can’t the proverbial, “Their” guy, look for them to back off and take no quarterback in 2011.

The position of least priority at this point is the specialists. Michigan State will continue to have one of the best special teams game in the country for the next couple of years with Aaron Bates next year, followed by Mike Sadler alongside Kevin Muma.

We have seen the talent level rise on the field each year since Coach Dantonio has been here. This staff has made an amazing impact on coaches across the Midwest and has started making that same impact on coaches across the US. They are highly respected by the coaches and high school prospects. They have created an atmosphere that the top players in the country want to be a part of. This class has the potential to be the highest rated recruiting class in Michigan State history if the Spartans can put together another great season on the field. Something we expect.

My early prediction of how the class will shape out by position:

  • 0 - 1 QB’s
  • 2 – 3 RB’s

o       Onaje Miller (already committed)

  • 3 WR’s
  • 1 TE
  • 3 OL
  • 2 DL
  • 3 LB
  • 5 DB’s