With the 2012 recruiting season well under way, it's time to take a look at the progress of Michigan State's crop of young talent thus far. Â One thing that the casual fan should not focus on is the number of stars a recruit is given. We cannot forget coach Dantonio's history of making 2/3 star recruits into 5 star talent. Â With the State of Michigan not as deep for the 2012 class of talent, the Michigan State coaches saw the perfect opportunity to focus on the state of Ohio which is filled with a very deep crop of players.
The Spartans landed a top rated QB in Michael Tyler O'Connor, an Elite 11 QB. Â They also focused on building the trenches landing two OL who are ranked in the top 10 in a very deep Ohio class. Â MSU also made a strong statement landing SeVon Pittman who is rated the #6 DE in the country and a pure pass rushing nightmare for opposing QB's. Â Here is a quick outlook of the current Michigan State commits for 2012.
DE Se'Von Pittman, McKinley High School, Canton, OH:
Regarded by most as the headliner the recruiting class, Pittman is recognized as one of the top DE's in the country. Â At 6'4", 230 pounds he plays with the initial burst and quickness off the line for which the 2011 top DE in the country Jadeveon Clowney was known. Â When Se'Von Pittman chose Michigan State, he turned down offers from national powers such as Ohio State, Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn, Notre Dame, and Michigan. Â Pittman is a good student who could have thrived any of these fine universities. Â In fact, he has excelled enough academically he could graduate early and enroll at Michigan State, if he so chooses.
QB Michael Tyler O'Connor, Lima Central Catholic High School, Lima, Ohio:
O'Connor should really excite Spartan fans. Â He excels on and off the field, carrying close to a 4.0 GPA and is the leader of his high school team. Â Many "experts" view O'Connor as one of the top pro-style QB's in the country, a primary reason behind his invitation to the Elite 11 camp. Â Despite his large 6'3", 210 pound, frame, he moves very well as a dual threat QB giving Michigan State an entirely new dimension when he arrives.
WR/S Kyle Kerrick, Coatesville Area SHS, Coatesville, Pennsylvania:
Similar to many players who receive Division I scholarship offers, Kerrick is an outstanding two way player for his high school team. Â His highlight film is impressive at both safety and wide receiver. Â He uses his hands exceptionally well jumping into the air over defenders, with his 6'3", 190 pound body. Â This is the type of versatile commit who fits Coach Mark Dantonio perfectly and will be able to play either Safety or receiver depending on the needs of the program.
TE Evan Jones, Ridgewood High School, West Lafayette, OH:
Jones is a prospect that may not get all the star gazers glowing for excitement. Â With mostly MAC level offers and a few BCS offers he would normally not be viewed as a top priority this early in the process. Â However, think back to last year and freshman sensation RB LeVeon Bell. Â He was an unknown prospect to so many and turned out to be a true asset to the team. Â Jones, who stands 6'5" and weighs 250 pounds, already possesses solid blocking ability and has the ability to catch the ball in the heaviest of traffic.
DE/TE Josiah Price, Eastern Jr & Sr High School,Â Greentown, IN:
Price is the latest commit for Michigan State and also rounds out the TE position for 2012. Â Josiah is another very versatile commit who shows great flashes on both sides of the ball at DE and TE, using his athletic ability to rush the passer and catch the ball in traffic. Â He is is a slimmer TE as compared to Evan Jones, but moves very well with the ball in his hands. Â He does not shy away from contact either, often running through opposing defenders. Â At 6'5", 230 pounds he really impressed the Spartan coaches with his route running and ability to catch the ball with his hands at the MSU camp.
OG Benny McGowan, Centerville High School, Centerville, Ohio:
Benny looks like he'll be a real mauler for the Spartans in the trenches. Â Football games are won and lost in the trenches, and adding a monster OG who will be able to push the pile, like Benny McGowan, will go along way toward the Spartans securing another Big Ten Championship. You will be hard pressed to find another player like McGowan who uses his wide frame to lock onto defenders and punish his opponent all game. Benny McGowan, and his 6'4" 300 pound bulldozer of a frame, lock onto defensive tackles and pancake them into the mud is something that all Spartan fans should look forward to seeing.
OG Zack Higgings, Marlington High School, Alliance, OH:
Higgins is a guard in a similar mold to Benny McGowan. Â Both players battle in the trenches with natural physical ability. Â Higgins moves very well for someone his size (6'5" 300 pounds). Â Although he has the ability to play either OT or OG, the coaches will start him out at OG and he is expected excel. You will notice watching his film that his feet never stop moving when he locks onto his opponent often driving them into the ground.
LB Riley Bullough, St. Francis High School, Traverse City, MI:
Bullough needs no introduction. His family heritage is very well known at Michigan State from his Grandfather to his brother, star MLB Max Bullough. Â Riley Bullough may not be as big as his older brother Max, but he is just as gifted at reading plays and knowing exactly where to be. Â At 6'2" 200 pounds Riley Bullough plays both QB and DB for his high school team. Â Adding another very versatile player to the 2012 class. Â He is extremely intelligent on and off the field, like many of Coach Dantonio's commits. Riley is projects as a LB in college and will do well next to his brother Max in the middle.
RB Nick Tompkins, Brookwood High School, Snellville, GA:
Tompkins is the type of home run threat Michigan State has yet to experience, in my opinion. Â Many may question my judgement on this bold prediction, but Nick Tompkins has the potential to be one of MSU top all around running backs. Â He has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as take on the less-than-glamorous job of squaring up and taking on blitzing LBs. At 5'10" 190 pounds Nick Tompkins has speed to burn, and is truly a dangerous threat once he hits the edge. Â Recently, I have heard his style compared to former Heisman Trophy winner, Reggie Bush. Â He has unique ability to shift and twist is body making tacklers miss all the way up field. Â But it should be noted that Tompkins does not dance around east to west. Â In watching his film it's apparent that he hits holes fast and hard moving north to south.
LB Jamal Lyles, Southfield-Lathrup High School, Lathrup Village, MI:
Jamal could be looked at as one of the biggest steals of this recruiting class when it is all said and done. Â As a 6'3 220 OLB Lyles looks to punish opposing RB trying to hit that outside corner, while using his speed and athletic ability to blow plays up. Â The one thing many experts have continuously pointed out is how well he is able to drop into coverage as an OLB and disrupt plays with his height and long arms.
Remember, for all of the best in-depth recruiting news keep an eye on Spartannation.com!