It was business as usual for Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing on Wednesday for National Signing Day. The program was in the running for some last-minute deciding prospects but their Class of 2017 appears to be complete, at least for the day.
It’s a class that consists of 22 players committed to play for MSU in 2017. Three of the 22 were already enrolled at the school, and the remaining 19 pledges all inked their letter of intent. Although when the day began, the crop of players was at 20, then came along a pair of players offering their commitment.
We look at that and what else made headlines regarding MSU football:
NELSON AND FLOWERS JOIN THE PARTY, FASHIONABLY LATE
Michigan State did pick up not one, but two lower-end prospects on the day despite missing out on some higher-level talent. One came in the morning, one in the late afternoon.
First, MSU nabbed Laress Nelson (Fort Lauderdale, FL), a 5-foot-11, 170-pound 2-star wideout. Nelson’s timeline of being linked back to Michigan State all came within the last few weeks. The school offered him a scholarship on January 19, he made one official trip to MSU on the 27th and signed his NLI on Wednesday.
Then in the afternoon, one commit and signing that flew really under the radar was a pledge from 2-star defensive back Emmanuel Flowers (Chino, Calif.). Flowers became player No. 22 for the Spartan class of 2017. The signing was actually announced during Dantonio’s NSD recap presser in East Lansing, something that is quite unusual to say the least.
Dantonio talked a little bit about both Nelson and Flowers once he officially received their letters of intent. He compared the wide receiver Nelson to former MSU wideout and return man Macgarrett Kings Jr., while the DB Flowers drew comparisons of a WR turned corner, former Spartan Tony Lippett.
DONOVAN WINTER SIGNING PUT ON HOLD
The day did not start out so well for the Michigan State folk, particularly when the news of one prospect committed for 2017 was in some trouble.
3-star weak-side defensive end Donovan Winter (Orlando, FL) was reportedly arrested on Monday and charged with burglary and possession of a firearm. The initial story that broke was that Winter would not be signing with MSU on Wednesday due to some “complicated matter.” Then details began to flow in and the picture became a little more clear.
Winter is still reportedly in jail and has a $2,000 bond attached to him. It is uncertain where he and the school stand regarding his commit. Dantonio is not permitted to speak of the matter due to NCAA rules regarding an unsigned prospect.
Winter and all other high school prospects officially have until April 1 to sign their national letters of intent to play in 2017 at the collegiate level. 247Sports currently does not list Winter among the 22 commits/signees for the Spartans Class of 2017, but still tab MSU as the heavy favorite for the 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end.
SPARTANS STOCKING UP ON OFFENSE
The 2016 campaign for Michigan State was a struggle to put it lightly. A number of things went wrong, all across the field at every position. Based solely on the makeup of this recruiting class, the team appears to be putting an emphasis on offense for the foreseeable future.
Just looking at the players available, whoever the quarterback is for MSU in 2017 and beyond could have a multitude of weapons at their disposal. Among the incoming freshman for next season are a pair of 4-stars, wide receiver Hunter Rison (Ann Arbor, MI) and tight end Matt Dotson (Cincinnati, OH). Rison is one of the three early enrollees at MSU, while Dotson had been committed to the program since last July. Michigan State is also the only school he had been in contact with since then, when it came to making official visits.
Dotson was not the only tight end that is committed for 2017 that could very well make an impact. Jack Camper (Bradenton, FL), a product of the IMG Academy and a 3-star talent, is also already enrolled at the school.
The program also made a nice push to bolster the offensive line to help provide [insert MSU QB here] and the LJ Scottled running back corps with protection. Two of their more heralded prospects from this class are 4-star offensive guard Kevin Jarvis (Park Ridge, IL) and Detroit Cass Tech’s own Jordan Reid. One team can never have enough bodies in the trenches, especially a team like MSU that has struggled with injuries and consistency in that area, really the last two seasons.