Mark Dantonio's 2007 MSU football class:
Hondo S. Carpenter
Each year when I compile my ratings for the incoming recruiting class it is an exhaustive effort, but certainly a labor of love.Â I try very hard to call coaches (who coached for or against) and to do as much research as possible including speaking to five different division one coaches to help me analyze each kid.
One NFL coach, when talking about his time as a college coach expressed today better then anyone I had ever heard when he said â€œit is like getting 25 first round draft picks each year.â€Â What a great analysis.
Please take into account that I do not use other rating systems, stars or whatever may be available.Â Although I have great admiration for those (especially the folks at RIVALS) that do that, a recruits true value is based upon need of the program, his ability to fill that need, his character and finally what other schools offered him.
If you are a school that runs a spread offense like JLS did, and you already have five great QBâ€™s on scholarship and add yet another, although he may be highly rated he certainly does not fill a need.Â
You will notice that I have a punter rated very highly this year.Â Frankly I will probably have him rated higher then any other recruiting analyst.Â Simply stated, because MSU needed one and he is the exact type and the exact one that the Dantonio system needs Aaron Bates is rated very high by me.Â MD got his punter that fits his system perfectly and in that MD system, the punter is highly critical.
As far as character issues, there are definitely some kids that would come in and fill a need and have lots of hype but cannot stay on the field or even school because of character issues.Â Mark Dantonio told me â€œwe recruit character first.Â If a guy canâ€™t stay he canâ€™t play here.â€Â They may be a detriment in the locker room or get arrested thus being a complete loss.Â Simply analyze the JLS regime and see how many recruits came in with great promise that left or were kicked off.Â Character will be a much more important issue with this staff as they wonâ€™t recruit kids that canâ€™t cut it.Â Were as in the past we saw a role the dice mentality, this staff does not operate that way.
Lastly what other programs have wanted the kid?Â Recently terminated Minnesota head football coach Glen Mason (and my friend) has a proven track record and is a genius for developing offensive lineman, and running backs.Â He takes unheralded players, makes them stars and puts them in the NFL has high draft picks.Â Therefore when I see a kid that is a O lineman, or a running back and he had an offer from Mason, he gets great points in my system.
So after hours of work and effort, I excitedly present to you the 2007 MSU football recruiting class.Â In analyzing this class you have to look at MSUâ€™s current roster and how it fits with Coach Dantonioâ€™s offensive, defensive, and special team schemes.Â To see how they fit and project I have had the luxury of watching almost all of Coach Dantonioâ€™s games while at Cincinnati.Â
It is critical to understand that offensively there will be a very strong emphasis on the power offensive system.Â That said, they will pass the ball and I think that many people will be shocked at the balance that his offense will demonstrate.Â Â This team will have a well-articulated air attack; it will however be very balanced.Â The punting game will be highly critical, as Dantonio does not take gambles.Â He has a heavyweight fight mentality and his offense will punt the ball directionally and force offenses to beat his defense.Â He will also avoid dumb risks by taking a field goal and again dare you to beat his defense.Â Rich Rodriguez the head coach at West Virginia told me when speaking of Coach Dantonioâ€™s defense â€œthey beat you up.Â Even on offense, they just attack you.â€Â I for one love that but that is why he will take a field goal and threaten you to beat his defense that is always pounding you.Â MSU will immediately now take an attack approach on both sides of the ball.Â They will treat each game like a chess match, and his attitude is hey, I will punt the ball, pin you down and let you face these 11 hungry dogs that are just ready to hit you. That is why the punting and kicking games are HUGE under MD.
All of Dantonioâ€™s thoughts are quotes from his press conference yesterday.Â I did participate in the conference but the MSU sports information folks provided the actual transcript notes.
- Antonio JeremiahÂ DTÂ 6â€™3â€ Â½Â 295#Â High School:Â Hilliard, OHÂ After four years of being ignored by JLS there is a new Sheriff in the Spartan Nation and he likes his defense.Â Jeremiah is a tough as nails kid.Â He has decent speed but a very quick first step.Â He also has a motor and will be that inside threat that will demand the double team.Â He will bring a solid blue-collar approach.Â He is not a Prima Dona, but he is good.Â He is very teachable and is a high character kid.Â One coach that recruited him told me â€œhe is tough. That kid will be a star and what I liked is that he loves football and he is tough. He loves to hit.Â I can tell you he has no regard for his body, he would sacrifice his arm for a sack.â€Â An Ohio High School coach told me â€œhere in Ohio we have a lot of talent and I have seen a lot of DTâ€™s.Â He is certainly among the best.Â I will be shocked if he isnâ€™t a star.â€Â Those are all great things.Â Jeremiah will be as good as he wants to be.Â He has definite star power.Â Needs to gain some bulk but will play immediately.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Antonio Jeremiah is a fourâ€‘star defensive lineman from Columbus, Ohio, who probably had better than 40â€‘plus scholarship offers.Â He'll play the Northâ€‘South game in Ohio.Â He played in the Eastâ€‘West game in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is the nation's toughest league.Â I'm not sure if it's Florida versus the rest or if it's eastâ€‘west really, but it's the national allâ€‘star game.Â He's coached by Paul Jenne.Â We're very excited to get Antonio.Â He's extremely strong, I think he's lost twice in wrestling this year, and he's a big guy that can run.Â A great person, great mother.Â Another program that is in Ohio that's a strong program.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â He'll have various opportunities to be starting defensive lineman for us.Â He'll have an opportunity to show up early.Â Ranked one of the top prospects by Super Prep, No.Â 25.
- Mark DellÂ WRÂ 6â€™2â€ 180#Â High School:Â Farmington Hills, MIÂ With all the talent left at the WR position from the previous regime, it is surprising that a WR could get this high, right?Â Wrong!Â Dell is a Michael Irvin type playmaker.Â With exceptional hands, this young man can go get balls, but is also able to go across the middle and take a hit.Â I have seen him twice in person and both times against great competition and he was clearly a man among boys.Â Dantonio want have 11 different receivers.Â Dell will get on the field and stay on it.Â Surprisingly, like Irvin he is not selfish in that to play in this offense you have to get down field and block.Â Not a problem, Dell relishes being the best and he knows it.Â He is not a jerk, but certainly likes showing others how good he is.Â I saw him 40 yards down field once on an up the middle run and just crush a safety.Â That attitude will make him many friends with MD and will get him on the field.Â He is a great get!Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Mark Dell, an outstanding wide receiver who committed early on, we were able to keep that commitment, an outstanding young person, came down at the end of recruiting and it looked like Miami of Florida was making a push, but made the decision to stay with his commitment.Â Extremely happy. Â (Heâ€™s an)Â outstanding receiver, outstanding basketball player, again, averages over 20 points, 6'2", 185, an outstanding program.Â As far as comparison, I've heard John Herrington make the statement that he's one of the finest football players he's ever had there.Â You can see him go up, you can see the body control here. He's another guy that again played defensive back, as well.Â So he brings toughness to the table on the offensive side of the ball.Â He's not a guy that's just going to play wide receiver and that's it.Â He can possibly play on special teams.Â He's an outstanding wide receiver, good speed, won the AAU 400 meters I think as an eighth grader, the national AAU, 400 meters as an eighth grader, outstanding basketball player.Â 21 yards a catch as a receiver last year, and obviously has the ability to run away from people, as well.Â An outstanding person.
- Aaron BatesÂ P/RÂ 6â€™Â 190#Â High School:Â New Concord, OHÂ Â This youngster was wanted by Notre Dame, a school that usually offers kickers and punters late and while they went after other kids, Dantonio stole the young man that in my opinion was the best punter for the MD system in the nation.Â He has the best hang time in the country, allowing the huge special team emphasis of MD to shine.Â That will help his coverage get down the field and punish people, and he also is a great directional punter.Â He can put the ball out of bounds and does it accurately.Â He is not needed (Swenson) but can consistently get the 50-yard field goal should Swenson suffer an injury.Â He has all that you want but also posses the style like Brandon Fields had that compels him to get down field and hit people.Â If he performs as he can, MSU will have the best kicking combo in the Big Ten.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Aaron Bates is from southeast Ohio, about 30 miles from where I grew up and where I lived, and as a matter of fact, his mom taught at the elementary school that I went toâ€¦We like him as a punter.Â He can kick off and also obviously kick field goals, but we like him as a punter.Â He's a threeâ€‘sport athlete.Â He's an outstanding quarterback.Â He's all right at that level.Â He's a point guard on the basketball team.Â I believe he's a second baseman and shortstop on his baseball team.Â He's valedictorian of his class.Â If you watch him he has great extension with his legs on the punting motion. Our former punter Craig Jarrett watched him a little bit and had some great things to say about him as a punter.Â You look at him here and you see the extension he has here as a punter.Â When you can put your knee to the chin like that, you have great power and great snap coming off.Â He's a guy that we will figure will vie for a job.Â He'll have to compete, but there is opportunities there for him.Â I do think he's a very mature young man, and the way he went through the recruiting process and was very mature already led us to believe he will be mature on the field, as well.Â We're very, very excited about having Aaron from John Glenn High School in Ohio.
- Andre AndersonÂ RBÂ 5â€™8â€ 190#Â High School:Â Barrington, ILÂ Of all of this yearâ€™s class, Andre intrigues me the most.Â He had an offer from Mason (former Gopher head coach) who considered him to have the potential to be the best RB he had ever had.Â Think about the great backs Mason has had that are a star in the NFL and what does that tell you?Â He has great vision and in the power I offense of MD, he moves straight ahead but has a unique ability to make people miss.Â He is a very good back.Â With Ringer and Caulcrick and Jimmerson, he may get the chance to red shirt.Â That said, Dantonio makes no promises.Â Every position is a battle at all times and he just may be good enough to make them play him.Â I am very excited about this young man.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Andre Anderson is a tailback from Barrington High School in Chicago, Illinois.Â He's one of the top prospects.Â When we saw Andre initially, he initially committed to Minnesota.Â After that recruitment and they had a change of coaches, we were able to get involved with Andre and he came for a visit and had a great visit. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â He's an outstanding running back.Â He's a 23'7" long jumper which is outstanding.Â He ran the 600 meters I believe as a junior.Â He's over 2,000 yards this year.Â He has receiving ability, as well, out of the backfield, very extremely explosive player. In the recruiting process, Illinois was still trying to get on him the last week and he held off and remained committed to Michigan State University.Â Great family and comes from a good high school, a good high school with solid academics, and we expect Andre to be a guy that would play in return situations and get involved in tailback situations.Â We really have three tailbacks on scholarship currently here, so we felt like we needed to go out and recruit at least two at that position. You can't have enough running backs in your program, whether it's injuries, whether it's giving each other a good look as you go through the process.Â But he certainly is the back of the future and he certainly is one of the most talented football players in the Midwest, and you can see some of the different things regarding him.Â Joe Sanchez was his coach.Â â€¦ He's got great ability, great acceleration, 190 pounds, very strong in that respect.Â Like I said, he has the ability to break with great speed
- Arthur Ray, Jr.Â OGÂ 6â€™2â€Â 300#Â High School:Â Chicago, ILÂ MSU over the years has been known as a place that O lineman go.Â When this young man leaves I will be shocked if he is not thought of amongst the best ever here.Â He may red shirt simply because of the depth of this yearâ€™s line, but that is o.k.Â He is a stud.Â He has great feat and with this offense, MD demands his guards to pull and move.Â No problem with this guy.Â He may be a big bruiser, but he can gitty up and go.Â This was such a great get by this staff.Â He is just a great kid off the field and when you watched him, he manhandled people.Â Make no mistake, he may be very personable but he would just as soon run over you then make you smile on the field.Â He or Dumphord could very well be the biggest stars in five years looking back on this class.Â The have it all.Â Ray, Jr. needs that red shirt year to just get stronger.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Arthur Ray, Chicago Mount Carmel, another Catholic school, excellent student.Â Comes from a family that has huge size on both sides, 6'8" and 6'11" on both sides of his family. I found something out in recruiting the other day.Â They said if you don't shave, you're going to continue to grow, so I was looking for the whiskers, he had no whiskers.Â So he'll be a guy that will get bigger.Â He's a guy that committed to BC early on, left tackle, but then they had the coaching change, reopened the process.Â Explosive, powerful, very well coached, plays for Frank Lenti over there and Dan Roushar recruited him. You can see his athletic ability here.Â He'll be a very good football player for us, very good football player. Arthur is, again, one of the top high school offensive guards by all these different people, Chicago Tribune, one of the top players in Chicago.
- Chase DumphordÂ OGÂ 6â€™4â€Â 315#Â High School:Â Paris, KYÂ Â This mammoth guard is a solid, tough guy.Â He has all the tools.Â Some even have speculated that he may be a tackle but the point is that he has it all.Â Will probably red shirt with all the O line talent on MSU, but very well may just earn a spot.Â He will be a solid O lineman with Ray, Jr. and those two should make lots of people hurt in the Big Ten.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Chase Dumphord is about 6'5", 320, plays basketball right now, averages about 20â€‘plus a game, 18 rebounds, named one of the nation's top offensive tackles by scout.com.Â Plays for a small school in Paris, Kentucky, has an uncle from the Michigan area, big athletic guy, and football is ahead of him.Â Outstanding pointÂ â€‘â€‘ 3.0 student, and you can see him coming right here.Â He can run.Â For a guy that big, he can run. He's a guy that when â€‘â€‘ he visited us after visits to Auburn and Florida, as well, when he made the commitment to us, which he did over Christmas.Â He stayed strong with that commitment.Â Great family, outstanding family, honor roll student.
- Chris RuckerÂ CBÂ 6â€™1â€Â 185#Â High School:Â Warren, OHÂ With all of the talk (and rightfully so) about Everson, donâ€™t over look this fine young man.Â He has very good hands and good speed.Â I like that we are getting away from the short CB.Â He will be a great addition to an anemic defensive backfield and I would not be shocked to see him as a backup next season behind Everson and Weaver and getting reps as a nickel and dime back.Â He also has deceptive speed and was a shut down CB in high school.Â I certainly donâ€™t think that he is ready to step in as a shut down CB immediately, but he is a good football player.Â Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Chris Rucker, 6'2", 185, a guy who's the stateÂ â€‘â€‘ he's the 60â€‘meter champion, and he's qualified for the nationals in the 60â€‘meter as a junior, very explosive player, about 6'2". Top corner, punt returner, kick returner, plays wide out, one of the nation's top cornerbacks. He has size, toughness, coached by Thom McDaniels, a legendary coach in Ohio at Warren Harding High School, which is one of the top programs in the state of Ohio. I think it's important that your defensive backs have deep ball judgment so when the ball goes up they can make the play when they're in position.Â We look for defensive backs that can play both wide receiver and DB in a kick returner, punt returner type mode, and with the idea that they'll be coming up with an opportunities for reception.Â Same thing with wide receivers, looking for guys that will make tackles, can play on special teams and not just be oneâ€‘dimensional.
- Greg JonesÂ OLBÂ 6â€™Â 210#Â High School:Â Cincinnati, OHÂ Fast, smarts and strong is three great ways to describe this young man.Â He is very intelligent andÂ uses his brain a lot.Â He will be one of the smartest players on the field.Â One coach he played against told me â€œhe can see where a play is going andÂ get there before the ball.â€Â He will need to add some weight, but Jones will use that speed and brain and is a very good addition. Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Greg Jones is from Cincinnati.Â He's a guy that we had a relationship with, had originally committed to Minnesota, and then the coaching change, he made the decision to come to Michigan State.Â Very explosive player.Â Had him in camp in Cincinnati.Â Coached by Bob Crable who played in the NFL for a long time at Moeller High School, which probably that particular conference, Cincinnati football, has created the last four out of five state champions.Â The state of Ohio, excellent football, allâ€‘boys' school, about 1,200 people.Â Very explosive player.Â He'll figure in immediately for us at our linebacker position.Â He also played in the allâ€‘star game Northâ€‘South game, led the team in tackles.
- Ryan WheatÂ DTÂ 6â€™4â€Â 300#Â High School:Â Flint, MIÂ This young man has the huge frame and strength.Â Although I donâ€™t think he can or will start this season, he may very well leave the red shirt in the closet and get some quality reps.Â Not only does he have good lateral movement he also has a nose for the ball and an ability with his size to knock down balls at the line of scrimmage.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Ryan Wheat, defensive tackle from Carmanâ€‘Ainsworth in Flint.Â He's on the Dream Team, as well, I believe.Â Extremely powerful guy, big. I think our three defensive tackles, we've got Jeremiah, Ryan Wheat and Oren Wilson are very, very good players.Â Obviously when you look at our offensive lineup situation, we have good, big people that are athletic, that can run. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In the recruiting process when the coaching change happened we needed to go back and recruit Ryan.Â A lot of people were involved with him.Â He made the decision to stay with his commitment.Â But again, you had three established relationships there with him, but an outstanding football player and another Michigan guy.Â We're extremely pleased with him.
- Ishmyl JohnsonÂ DEÂ 6â€™5â€Â 255#Â High School:Â New Berlin, NYÂ Â The upside on Johnson is huge.Â With such a deficiency at the DT position for MSU he could also get reps early.Â He needs to mature but is a good young man.Â He needs to gain weight and get stronger but that will happen.Â He may have the most potential, if he can work and realize it.Â The sky is the limit with Ishmyl, for him that means that he and he alone will set his ceiling! Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Ishmyl Johnson from New Jersey, Milford Academy in New York.Â A small place for right now.Â About 6'5", 260, figures to be a factor immediately.Â Has a tremendous motor, various offers.Â The guy can run, big strong guy that can run, gives us an edge on defense.Â Got great power, great upside.Â Ranked among the nation's top 50 prospects by Rivals, top defensive ends by Scout, No.Â 64.Â They're playing good football up there.Â Bill Chaplick is the coach, Pat Narduzzi is the recruiter.Â They did a tremendous job.Â There were a lot of people looking at him early on and then late, as well.Â He stayed with his commitment and he'll be an excellent football player for us.
- B.J. CunninghamÂ WRÂ 6â€™Â 190#Â High School:Â Westerville, OHÂ This youngster from Ohio is a tough receiver that may not have the most speed on the field, but he has the ability to get separation and does not drop passes.Â When he has struggled it was in situations were the game was not on the line.Â Will need to bring it all the time, but one thing is certain.Â He is a fine young man and a great locker room guy.Â He could very well find himself eventually as the slot receiver in this offense because like one coach he played against said â€œ..he has no fear.Â He has good vertical ability and I think he will fit nicely for the Spartans he has no fear.Â He will look out across at much bigger safeties and LBâ€™s and have no problems going up after a pass.â€Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â B.J. Cunningham, wide receiver, only played football for two years, outstandingÂ jumper.Â Last year as a junior he was the MVP in his basketball conference in Ohio, which had about 16 teams in it.Â It was one of the better basketball conferences in central Ohio, in fact the top basketball conference in central Ohio.Â He's a tremendous leaper, had 40â€‘plus catches this year, plays corner, as well. The thing that I like, as a defensive back, wide receiver, we like to recruit defensive backs that have ball skills which mean they were wide receivers.Â We like to recruit receivers that have the ability to play corner and the toughness to play corner because it will show up on special teams and all different areas.Â B.J. is about 6'2", he's got great handâ€‘eye coordination, can take off from the foul line and go and slam it.Â Tremendous basketball player, averaging about 20 points a game or so at this point.
- Ashton LeggettÂ RBÂ 5â€™11â€Â 225#Â High School:Â Muskegon, MIÂ Leggett is the wild card of this class.Â Was he underrated because of all the attention that his team mate ROJO got?Â His coaches think so and told me that.Â He is a power back and although some think he can bounce it outside, I disagree.Â He has to get faster to get to the corner in the Big Ten.Â I like him, and I think he could be a very nice addition to MSU.Â One thing is certain, he is not a follower, and he is leader in the good sense of the word.Â I think he will bring some really nice toughness, but wonâ€™t get much time with Caulcrick and Ringer ahead of him and Anderson fighting for some PT.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Ashton Leggett, he has great abilityâ€¦will be used as a tailback.Â I think he has power.Â He's the kind of guy that can run through some tackles, great speed.Â We'll use him as a tailback.Â He's a very exciting football player, good solid student.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
- Kevin PicklemanÂ ILBÂ 6â€™3â€Â 215#Â High School:Â Marshall, MIÂ Pickleman could be a huge surprise. He will play FB at MSU or maybe even the hybrid TE known as the H back.Â He didnâ€™t get a lot of love from must recruiting services but he can play some football and will take a ramrod approach to the FB position.Â Before I found MSU had offered him, I had already seen him and thought he would be a very good FB prospect.Â This youngster could find his way to the field soon.Â Needs some strength but he has a good football IQ.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Kevin Pickelman, Marshall High School.Â Kevin is a guy from Marshall that I watched his sophomore highlight film, his junior highlight film and senior highlight film.Â He's a contact football player.Â He can play on both sides of the ball.Â For Marshall he'll start on the offensive side of the ball.Â We will give him an opportunity to play defense to see how it pans out.Â He's about 245 pounds right nowâ€¦Great ball skills, great movement, outstanding motor, good student.Â Another guy that had numerous opportunities where to go, numerous opportunities.
- Jared McGahaÂ OTÂ 6â€™6â€Â 280#Â High School:Â Powell, TNÂ He certainly has the frame but needs to add some size and strength.Â Has decent feet but I know the staff is very high on him and see him as a sleeper.Â Again, you canâ€™t teach size and he has that.Â After a season with Coach Mannie, I am sure he will be a fine specimen come next season.Â I will say this, he has the heart and toughness that is needed to play here at MSU.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Jared McGaha from Knoxville, Tennessee.Â You don't get down to Knoxville very much to recruit, but again, I was at Ohio State's camp, their select camp which recruits players from throughout the Midwest, and I saw Jared pass blocking, and that's about all you needed to see.Â His pass blocking gets a few things.Â He has excellent feet, weighs about 278 right now, he's an excellent studentâ€¦Excellent football player, power, one of the top offensive tackles in the nation. You can see it doesn't take long to watch him as an offensive lineman.Â He's very, very athletic.Â He's going to continue to get bigger and bigger.
- Oren WilsonÂ DTÂ 6â€™2â€Â 275#Â High School:Â Cincinnati, OH Â He needs to add some bulk to play DT in the Big Ten but he will be fine.Â Dantonio really likes his motor and again with the anemic depth he could find a way.Â Dantonio and Narduzzi like to substitute D tackles to keep them fresh.Â Although inÂ an ideal world I think they would like him to red shirt, he could possible earn some PT.Â We shall see, but he is a good kid that will excel in the Dantonio strict system on and off the field.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Oren Wilson is from Jersey, and he went to Harmony Prep School, 6'3", and 290.Â To the left, he's a nose tackle there coming off.Â Ability to run, runs for a big guy.Â I think he's very similar to OG for us.Â Powerful guy who's played center as well as defensive tackle.Â He has played center in the past.Â Very athletic, a good athletic guy.
- Chris RuckerÂ DB/WRÂ 5â€™9â€Â 165#Â High School:Â Detroit, MIÂ May see the field in year one because he can flat out fly.Â He is little in size but as a speedster special teams is a good way for him to get on the field.Â He is strong for his size but that doesnâ€™t mean he does not need to add some.Â He should be fun to watch just from his speed, but donâ€™t let the small size fool you.Â He loves to hit and he is a smart tough young man.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Chris Rucker from Detroit.Â Dan Enos recruited him, 5'10", and 172.Â He's the 100â€‘meter champion in the state of Michigan, good 500â€‘meter guy.Â In the slot here.Â Excellent ball skills.Â He's a multidimensional player in terms of being a defensive back, a returner, obviously a wide receiver, and he's played tailback, as well, gets in the crease and can go.Â He's about 185 pounds.Â Excellent student at Country Day.Â You can see him outrunning the angles there.Â He ran the ball 62 times for 640 yards, 10.3 average, 21â€‘yard average.Â With career receptions, he averaged 21 yards per catch, 72 catches.Â And as I said, 100â€‘meter champion. Again, here's a guy that can go on the outside and run past people.
- David DuranÂ TEÂ 6â€™5â€ 240#Â High School:Â Marietta, GAÂ When MD got the job, one of his first calls was to this young man.Â Well he got him.Â Duran is highly intelligent, has great character and although you canâ€™t look at one thing and say he is a star that really isnâ€™t fair.Â He is a football player in the purest form of the term and his willingness to lower his hat and hit people will make him a valuable addition to the OL as the Big TE that MD likes.Â He also has good hands and finds a way to lay a hit on the defense when he goes across the middle.Â He does not go down easily and with he being one of MDâ€™s first calls I have to have great faith in him.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â David Duran, tight end from Atlanta, Georgia, Cal High School.Â His high school coach Irv Sigler coached up here in Michigan, as well.Â David has played tight end.Â He's also played defensive end. He's a guy that had gone on to the University of Cincinnati and a guy that when we watched him really felt like he was an outstanding football player in all respects.Â He plays in a good league in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, Marietta, Georgia, excellent student, as well.Â And a huge frame, 250, 260.Â Outstanding ball skills, tough, can run.Â In all respects a very, very good football player.Â Good body control.
- Garett CelekÂ TEÂ 6â€™6â€Â 230#Â High School:Â Cincinnati, OHÂ Another one of the first calls MD made when he came back to MSU was to Celek.Â He is also a big smart and tough target that MD likes in his TEâ€™s.Â Celekâ€™s older brother played for Dantonio and if he is anything like his brother (and I think he is) he could be a huge surprise.Â I really wouldnâ€™t be shocked if we are talking four years from now about how big of a loss this was.Â Again, his brother has the work ethic and if he does then he will set how good he can be.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Garrett Celek, an unusual little story, his brother played tight end for us at Cincinnati.Â His brother is the allâ€‘time receiving tight end at Cincinnati.Â He played at LaSalle High School this year, and he's 240 pounds.Â He came to camp last year and he also went to Ohio State's camp.Â We brought him to camp initially as a tight end.Â He had great hands.Â He long jumped 9'10".Â If you ever go to the pro combine, 10 feet is the measuring stick for the NFL.Â If you can long jump 10 feet, that gets you in the game as a defensive back.Â He long jumped 9'10".Â He vertical jumped 34" and he ran four six something or other.Â He had great ball skills, and we were sold on him immediately.Â And then he went to his high school and they put him at tackle. You do what you've got to do as far as a high school player because you have various players, various players that need to play relative to the offense. But he's tough.Â He's a 3.5 student at LaSalle, which is an allâ€‘boys' school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and he's got a tremendous upside.Â When I saw Jim Tressel, and that was still at Cincinnati, he made the statement to me that Garrett CelekÂ â€‘â€‘ they weren't taking a tight end, but Garrett Celek was the best football player out of 2,000 kids that came to their camp. We're extremely excited about him and we feel like we've got a diamond in the rough.Â A lot of times you measure things in the recruiting process in terms of how the guy looks, and you hear all these different analyses on people.Â But the bottom line is what you do with players when they come to your program.Â We're very, very excited about Garrett coming here and being a part of Michigan State Spartans.
- Joel ForemanÂ OGÂ 6â€™3â€Â 300#Â High School:Â Highland, MIÂ Foreman is strong as an ox and is not fast but quick.Â He has to work on his lateral foot movement but he is a solid player.Â He will red shirt next season but according to people at his school, they believe MSU plans to move him to center.Â He will be a solid player, and is only this low because others above him fill so many needs.Â He also is a very good character hid, and is a hard worker.Â He is truly a blue-collar hard worker, the kind of young man Dantonio salivates over.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Joel Foreman, 6'3", 291, Milford High School.Â Pat Fox is the coach, and Dan Enos recruited Joel.Â When we watched Joel, outstanding tough guy.Â As you can imagine he's the MVP in his league as an offensive lineman.Â That's a huge statement. Joel is another outstanding student, brings toughness to the table.Â He ran for 3,300 yards this year on offense, and again, you guys can see all the different stats. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Pat Fox is a guy that coached Eric Morris when I was here before, and I have great respect for Pat Fox and what he says about his players.Â Extremely tough guy.Â Penn State tried to come in on him after the week we finally offered him.Â Penn State was coming in, as well, and he committed to Michigan State Spartans, and we're excited about Joel, very much so.Â A tremendous person, and also a tremendous football player.
- Kirk CousinsÂ QBÂ 6â€™2â€Â 170# Â High School:Â Holland, MIÂ People who donâ€™t know will see a QB, the only QB this low and instantly ask why.Â That is simple.Â Cousins was not MSUâ€™s first, second, or perhaps even lesser choice.Â He had interest from MAC schools but one coach that did not recruit him told me â€œâ€¦we just didnâ€™t think he was tough enough.Â He came from a small school without the best competition and I donâ€™t think he could handle tough coaching.Â He was to big a project at this level.Â He is a fine young man and certainly does not lack for confidence.Â That said, MSU will probably be signing another QB next week and will get another one next year.Â He has put himself in a tight spot but I wish him luck.Â Enos was not the most heralded QB when he came to MSU and look what he did. Â Hopefully for Kirk he can do the same.Â I just donâ€™t think the fifth choice (at best) will get a lot of leash or opportunity barring injury.Â He is a very smart young man and has impeccable character.Â He has the tools, and I wouldnâ€™t be shocked if he made it happen, I just think he has a long hill to climb.Â Dantonioâ€™s thoughts:Â Kirk Cousins is a young man I was talking about.Â He was No.Â 16 in the Elite 11 selection, probably just didn't quite have the stats as a junior that allowed him to jump into that top 11.Â Quite a few schools, and also Colorado came in at the end, and we kept watching Kirk.Â He spent time with Dan Enos, who's been coaching here as the quarterback. We evaluated him, watched him play basketball, watched his athleticism on the basketball court, saw what type of person he is, and really got excited about him. He has a lot of tendencies when we used to playÂ â€‘â€‘ I coached against Drew Brees when I was here before four straight years, and I think he has a lot of those type of tendencies, being able to deliver the ball at different angles, different variations, quick release, good arm strength.Â I think he'll be an excellent quarterback for us, an excellent player, a great person.Â Again, valedictorian of the class and majoring in preâ€‘med. â€¦ Again, quick release, stays strong under pressure, great reads.Â You're never sure where he's looking.Â He's an excellent student of the game.Â I think as a football player just like anything else, just like your job, you have to have great attention to detail.Â The same thing can be said for any kind of mechanics that are involved in football, I think it's important to pay attention to those, and Kirk Cousins is definitely one of those people.Â He is a very mature individual, he is very thorough in all of his evaluation of where to go, what to do, how to do it, and I think he'll be an excellent quarterback here.