February 2, 2012
Recruiting Hits and Misses
BIGGEST HITS:WR Aaron Burbridge of Farmington Hills Harrison High School, Michigan
The University of Michigan got off to a strong start and had many people buzzing about how the Spartans were lagging behind. Burbridge, the state's top ranked player, leveled the scales a bit as far as in-state recruiting. In addition, Burbridge plays a position of need for the class of 2012. Burbridge is considered by many to be the best WR to come out if Harrison High School. When you consider player like Mark Dell, Agim Shabaj, Ricky Bryant and Mill Coleman are Harrison graduates; that is saying something.
DB Demetrious Cox of Jeanette High School, Ohio
It became obvious early on in the recruiting process that the Spartans wanted to add an elite safety recruit to the class. The two players that the staff focused their efforts on the most were Demetrious Cox and Jordan Diggs. The competition for both players was intense as each of them was an All-American prospect with offers from all over the nation. When Diggs decided to attend his father alma-mater South Carolina, Cox's recruitment became that much more important. The Spartans were able to fend off Ohio State and Wisconsin for his signature.
QB Tyler O'Connor of Lima Catholic High School, Ohio
Top programs need to land a top quarterback every year and that I what Michigan State was able to do when the signed O'Connor. Beating the Northwestern Wildcats for his pledge was not an easy task. If the Spartans had not landed O'Connor they may have had to drop down quite a bit on their recruiting board. The two other prospect the staff was focused on, Wes Lunt of Illinois and Chad Kelly of New York, committed to Oklahoma State and Clemson respectively. The Spartans were viewed as strong contenders for each, but were not the favorite. Landing O'Connor will battle with fellow Ohio quarterback Connor Cook for the starting spot once Andrew Maxwell graduates.
DE Se'Von Pittman of Canton McKinley High School, Ohio
The initial commitment of Pittman was a big coup for the Spartans as most viewed Pittman as a strong Ohio State lean. The turmoil in Columbus definitely played a factor. Losing Pittman was not only a big deal because he is such a talented player, but because the staff spent an incredible amount of resources on him. Those resources could have been allocated toward other potential recruits that the Spartans could have possibly signed. The Spartans were unable to sign another quality defensive end to the class to replace the departure, missing out on prospect such as JaMichael Winston, Ryan Watson and Jared Pinnix-Odrick.
DT Jaleel Johnson of Montini Catholic High School, Illinois
The loss of Johnson stung for a variety of reasons. The first is that the Spartans were the first BCS team to offer Johnson and had him on campus early. That fact usually helps a team, but Johnson committed early to Iowa and despite the Spartans n best efforts they were unable to get him to take an official visit to East Lansing. Interestingly zero of the top 15 recruits in Illinois signed with the Fighting Illini, However, the Spartans were unable to capitalize on that fact the way Iowa and Nebraska were.
OT Kyle Dodson of Cleveland Heights High School, Ohio
The Spartans recruited Dodson very hard for over a year only to see him flip from Wisconsin to the Ohio State Buckeyes on signing day. The Spartans wanted to add a high-level offensive tackle to the class and put their eggs in the Dodson basket. With Urban Meyer's hiring it became pretty obvious the Ohio state was going to be the team to beat for Dodson. Much like Johnson and Pittman, the big loss here is that the Spartans used a lot of valuable resources trying to get Dodson. 2012 was not the year you were going to get an Ohio kid away from the Buckeyes. Finishing a close second doesn't for much in recruiting. It is possible that the Spartans could have added another offensive tackle, but coaches only have so much time and effort.
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