EXCLUSIVE: Why the Spartans Didn't Land 2025 OL Recruit Nolan Davenport

Jonathan Smith and the Michigan State Spartans football program lost out on three-star offensive lineman Nolan Davenport, and he told us why.
Massillon offensive tackle Nolan Davenport (61) gets loose ahead of a playoff game against Lake, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023.
Massillon offensive tackle Nolan Davenport (61) gets loose ahead of a playoff game against Lake, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. / Kevin Whitlock / Massillon Independent /

On Thursday, three-star offensive line prospect Nolan Davenport announced his commitment decision, choosing the Michigan State Spartans' Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

The Spartans were among the top teams courting Davenport, Penn State,, and Missouri rounded out the four. Davenport said that the program's culture was vital to his decision.

"It was an extreme culture fit for me," Davenport told Spartan Nation. "And I've had a relationship with Coach Blazek for a very long time. He recruited me when he was at Vanderbilt, from about a year ago today. He believed I could play tackle before I was even playing tackle ... It's just comforting, knowing that I had someone who believed in me from the start."

Davenport visited Wisconsin the weekend of May 31, a weekend that many recruits across the country took official visits. Davenport considered committing in Madison, he said, but he needed a couple days to "let it sink in."

Davenport previously told Spartan Nation he would love to see the field sooner rather than later when he arrived at a college.

"Obviously redshirting isn't the end of the world," Davenport had said. "I would like to be playing within two-to-three years though, that would be ideal for me."

Davenport had told Spartan Nation his goal was to earn a starting position and develop into a key veteran leader and eventually get drafted into the NFL. On the day of his commitment, his focus is still on the next step.

"Right now, my goal is just to get on the field and see where that takes me," he said.

Davenport is a high three-star recruit, per 247Sports. He was the 12th-ranked 2025 recruit in Ohio, and the 31st-ranked offensive tackle in the class. Davenport was originally scheduled to visit Michigan State on June 14th.

Davenport is from the football-rich town of Massillon, Ohio. He said that growing up, his dream was to play Big Ten football. He was excited at the prospect of spending his Saturdays in the trenches against tough Big Ten front-sevens.

Now, Davenport will achieve that dream as a Badger instead of as a Spartan or Nittany Lion.

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