July 7, 2011

Recruiting Analysis: DTs

If both Jaleel Johnson and Danny O'Brien do not end up at Michigan State, what players will the Spartans get at defensive tackle?

First, let me just say this, missing out on Johnson is a hit. More so than any of the other in-state guys that people on the board lamented about. As for O'Brien, his recruitmmnet has a long way to go. With that said, I have always thought he would either join Godin down in Ann Arbor or head to SEC. A long time ago a former MSU Coach told me, if an in-state player who has an early offer doesn't want to commit ebefore his season, you better start looking elsewhere. I think ther is some truth to that statement.

O'Brien has had MSU in his top two or 3 teams for quite some time, just like DeAnthony Arnett did.

Personally, I would not be shocked if he follows Arnett to Tennessee. I would be even more shocked if Derek Dooley is the coach at Tennessee in 2014. Dooley has to win the SEC East either this year or next to quite his critics. With Florida, Georgia and South Carolina all in the way, that is a tall task.

As for other defensive tackles, I put Trae Clark on the HOT LIST becaue I have heard that his stock is rising and Michigan State is one of his top choices. Clark has very good size and comes from a tremendous high school program.

A wildcard at the defensive tackle position is Stephon Hall of Detroit Consortium High School. Hall burst on the scene earlier this summer and will be at the Michigan State Camp on July 11th. Hall is listed as being 6-foot-3, 262-pounds. If those numbers are accurate, even if he is only 6'2, 255-pounds, he will certainly add 20-pounds once he enrolls in college.

Keep in mind, current DT Kevin Pickelman was a 235-pound linebacker coming out of high school.

Some have wondered why Hall is not getting more attention. You could ask the same question about player like Keyshawn Martin and Leveon Bell. The word we have on Hall is that he has changed schools and he still needs to take care of some academic issues.
Another aspect that has not been looked at yet is southern recruiting. Between Florida and Georgia, there are over 25 uncommitted defensive tackle recruits that have scholarship offers on the table. Many of these players will not make a college choice until after taking official visits. Do not be shocked if more than one of these players moves onto the Spartan radar if the position cannot be addressed with players in the Midwest.

Another point to consider is how things play out with the 2011 recruits as well as some of the people listed as strongside-defensive ends. Looking at the Rivals.com database shows that the Spartans have offered both Nathan Lohn (6-foot-3, 265-pounds) and Roderick Chungong (6-foot-3, 250-pounds). Both players are supposed to visit Michigan State in the near future. It would not take much for either player to end up the optimal size to play the 3-technique defensive tackle spot.

As far as last year, one player of interest will be Damon Knox of Muskegon. Knox is listed as being 6-foot-5, 265-ponds in the rivals.com database. Like Lohn and Chungong, it will be interesting to see where he ends up when practice starts. If he is in the 275-tranged I have a feeling he will be sliding inside.

Another recruitment to watch with some interest is Sheldon Day of Indiana. At one point Day was pretty much a UM lock, but that talk has cooled considerably. I think the Wolverines want to take Pipkins and O'Brien. In that scenario they will then move Godin to offensive line, which is where they like him better. Day has a lot of offers and the word is he now wants to take his official visits before he makes his college choice. Michigan State Coach Dave Warner is recruiting Day for the Spartans, so do not dismiss the chances here.

One thing to keep in mind is that Michigan State will have one of the top defensive lines in the Big Ten this year. The line will be led by an impressive trio of defensive tackles. Worthy was a 3-star recruit and ranked the #53 defensive tackle in the class of 2008. The other starters are Pickelman, a 2-star recruit, and Anthony White who was an unranked 3-star recruit. By the way, Spartans likely would not have taken White if they would have landed several other recruits they were after.

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