Michigan State Could Have Best Recruiting Class Under Mark Dantonio in 2014

By Connor Muldowney
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

OK, so it’s no secret that the Michigan State Spartans underachieved in 2012 with a 7-6 record. This mediocre season came after two straight 11-win seasons, and left a sour taste in Mark Dantonio‘s mouth.

Dantonio knows better than anyone what this team is capable of, and it could mean big things in the years to come. He has put together a top-40 recruiting class seemingly every year, and they seem to be in the top-five recruiting classes in the Big Ten each year as well.

He seems to accumulate more and more four-star recruits each off-season, and that bodes well for the Spartan program. This is a program that went from the basement of the Big Ten under John L. Smith to where they are now — a consistent top-three team in the conference under Dantonio.

However, Dantonio would be the first one to tell you that stars mean next to nothing in college football. Two examples comes to mind — four-star wide receiver Fred Smith, who has since transferred from Michigan State after barely seeing the field, and two-star running back Le’Veon Bell, who is considered a top running back in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Nevertheless, stars are what draw attention and bring in even more top recruits. If your school is bringing in more top prospects each year, then the next year the top prospects will want to see what the hype is about.

East Lansing is drawing more attention to top recruits these days and 2014 could end up being the best recruiting class that Dantonio has assembled as a collegiate head coach before it’s all said and done.

Two five-stars are currently on Dantonio’s list of targets — something that has rarely been done by the coach. While linebacker Clifton Garrett is one of those five-stars and his interest isn’t that great, five-star defensive lineman from Detroit, Malik McDowell, has the Spartans as one of his top-three teams.

Not to mention, according to 247Sports, the Spartans already have three four-star commitments in receiver Drake Harris, linebacker Deon Drake and athlete Byron Bullough — brother of Riley and Max — maybe the Spartans have already made it to elite levels.

The Spartans have also made 14 four-stars’ list of top schools for 2014, highlighted by dual-threat quarterback DeShone Kizer and the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country according to 247Sports, Caleb Henderson.

The Spartans should be set at quarterback for years to come and with the spread-out recruitment on both sides of the ball, East Lansing should have one of the best football programs in the conference for the foreseeable future.

Hats off to the job Mark Dantonio is doing with this team. The possible commitments he could accumulate this off-season would be enough to excite even the Ohio States or Michigans of the Big Ten.


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