EXCLUSIVE: Where Jonathan Smith, MSU Football Stand with Top QB Target

The Michigan State Spartans offered Michael Clayton in June. He took an unofficial visit not long after, and he told Spartan Nation about what he thinks of the Green and White.
Nov. 11, 2023; Columbus, Oh., USA; 
Michigan State Spartans quarterback Andrew Schorfhaar (18) throws a pass during the second half of Saturday's NCAA Division I football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.
Nov. 11, 2023; Columbus, Oh., USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Andrew Schorfhaar (18) throws a pass during the second half of Saturday's NCAA Division I football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. / Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch

Quarterback Michael Clayton of Seminole High School in Florida has been rising as a top target in 2026. He has 26 offers, including top programs like Auburn, Miami, Iowa, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and the Michigan State Spartans.

The 6-foot-3 and a half, 200-pound signal-caller is the 31st-ranked quarterback in the 2026 class, per the 247Sports Composite rankings, and the No. 359 prospect overall.

On3's Industry Ranking has Clayton graded as a four-star recruit and the No. 19 quarterback in the class, a Top 300 player.

Clayton was offered by the Spartans in June. Spartans head coach Jonathan Smith has a deep quarterback room for the future with Aidan Chiles, Alessio Milivojevic and Ryland Jesse, but it is clear he wants more depth. And potential.

Clayton said it was his trainer who met with Spartans defensive backs coach Blue Adams at a mega camp hosted by USF.

"We set up a visit for the next week, went up there [to East Lansing], absolutely loved it, and got offered," Clayton told me.

Clayton said that Michigan State was among his top schools.

"I really love their offense. Very pro-style, correlates to the NFL, and that's what I look for in an offense, so, it checked the box for me," Clayton said. "I love the coaches, I love the vibe that they had at walkthroughs, I love the starting quarterback [Chiles] and how he's able to express himself, express his personality. And be free. I can definitely see myself there, for sure."

Clayton described the coaching staff and the culture as "very laid back" and "relaxed." He took note of it during his unofficial visit.

"Definitely urgent," Clayton said. "You know, there were walkthroughs, so it wasn't quite like practice, but you could definitely sense the vibe of like a family."

Spartans offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Lindgren earned high praise from the rising junior, who called him "amazing."

"He was able to teach and install stuff with the guys, he had a lot of new quarterbacks and he was able to break it down to them," Clayton said. "It was very impressive."

On3's Recruiting Prediction Machine lists Miami as the favorite for Clayton, with a 28.2 percent chance. However, it is far too early to decide. Clayton still has the all-important junior campaign to play, and he has yet to take official visits.

The Spartans have been good recruiters under Smith, and they have plenty of time to work with Clayton. Clayton would be a good fit for Smith's model of quarterback -- accurate arm and the mobility to escape the pocket and make plays. The Spartans have time on their side with the Florida product. It seems as though they are in a good position already.

Michael France is Sports Illustrated's Michigan State recruiting beat writer, covering all things Big Ten recruiting for Spartan Nation. Be sure to follow him on Twitter/X@michaelfrancesi for exclusive Spartans recruiting coverage.

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Michael France

MICHAEL FRANCE