Meet the 2018 Michigan State Football Recruiting Class
The first ever early signing period in college football is starting today and with it high school athletes from all over the country are faxing in their national letters of intent (NLI) to play college football. For Michigan State they received NLI's from all 20 of their verbal commitments today.
The early signing period is three days long and after that National Signing Day will still go on in Early February for players who do not commit in these 72 hours.
The 20 NLI's Michigan State received fill out most if not all of their class of 2018 recruiting class for football. Coach Dantonio at a press conference expressed his desire to add another defensive lineman and that they have "two, maybe three spots" they could still fill.
And here they are.
Stars are ratings of Scout.com/Rivals.com in that format if they are not unanimous.
Theo Day, QB, Dearborn, Mich. 4/3 stars
Mark Dantonio secured the best quarterback in the state of Michigan to fill out a depth chart that will be loaded with talent next season. Dantonio has drawn comparisons between Day and current starter Brian Lewerke saying that both have strong arms and great running abilities. Day threw for over 3,300 yards and 38 TDs his last two seasons combined at Divine Child.
Elijah Collins, RB, Detroit, Mich. 3 stars
Collins will be the main running back of this recruit class. Though playing both sides of the ball while in high school, Dantonio believes Collins' strength is as a tailback. He ran for 1,076 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior season at U of D Jesuit High School in 2017. He is listed as a top 25 running back in the country according to recruiting services.
La'Darius Jefferson, ATH, Muskegon, Mich. 3 stars
Originally recruited as a linebacker, Jefferson's senior season quarterback play helped his team to a 14-0 record and a state championship in division 3. During the season, Jefferson rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 33 touchdowns meanwhile he had 1,200 yards and 21 additional touchdowns through the air. He has the ability to play multiple positions and will likely begin at MSU as a running back with the potential to shift in to other roles as needed.
Javez Alexander, WR/ATH, Sandusky, Ohio 3/2 stars
Alexander played quarterback while he attended Sandusky high school in Ohio but attending camp at Michigan State as a wide receiver and he impressed the coaches enough to merit a scholarship offer at the position. Alexander will enroll early and be eligible for the spring game in 2018. He finished third in the Ohio Mr. Football voting his senior season. Mark Dantonio has drawn comparison between him and current Spartan Cody White.
Julian Major, WR, Pittsburgh, PA 3 stars
Another recruit enrolled in Spring 2018 classes, Major was nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. One of the leading players in Pennsylvania, Major received recognition for his hands. Despite injuries in his senior season he still earned an honorable mention in the prestigious Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League. Wisconsin and Kentucky also offered Major scholarships for football.
Trenton Gillison, TE, Pickerington, Ohio 4 stars
Gillison is considered a top 10 tight end in the country by many recruiting services and he might also play baseball at Michigan State at the varsity level. He is regarded as one of the biggest tight ends Michigan State has ever brought in as a freshman standing at 6'3.5" and 232 pounds. He won a division 1 state title in Ohio with Pickerington Central his senior season.
James Ohonba, OT, Stockbridge, GA 3/4 Stars
Ranked by ESPN as the No. 5 offensive guard in the state of Georgia, Ohonba received offers from Michigan, Alabama and Georgia. Despite a size 18 shoe, Ohonba is light on his feet playing soccer and basketball early in his high school career. The Georgia Sports Writers Association picked Ohonba for first-team all-state honors after a strong junior season.
Dimitri Douglas, OT, Saline, Mich. 3 stars
Dimitri Douglas was a first-team all-state honoree while en route to a fourth straight undefeated season in conference play at Saline. Named a top five tackle prospect in the state of Michigan, Douglas signed with the Spartans shortly after his campus visit. Look for Douglas to slide to various positions along the line. He's strong, Dantonio says he saw Douglas bench press 225 over 20 times as a senior. For reference, Douglas weighs 285 pounds.
Jacob Isaia, C, Las Vegas, Nev. 3 stars
Isaia (pronounced ee-sy-uh) has MSU bloodlines as he is the grandson of Bob Apiza a former All-American, two time national college champion and hall of famer. Isaia is considered the consensus top offensive line prospect out of Nevada and when he was a junior his high school (Bishop Gorman) was considered the #1 high school team in the country. Isaia will be playing in the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando on January 4
Parks Gissinger, DE, West Hills, CA 3 stars
A top three defensive end prospect out of California Gissinger also played tight end in high school but will come to East Lansing as a defensive player. Gissinger played at Chaminade College Prep where he won a conference title as part of an undefeated team in the Mission League. Dantonio said "He’s active, uses his hands very well, and has good pass-rushing skills.”
Zachary Slade, DE, Lewis Center, Ohio 3 stars
One half of the newest set of brothers to join the Spartans, Zachary Slade is the quicker of the two playing the defensive end position (as opposed to defensive tackle). Zach is a two-time all-conference selection at defensive end for the Ohio Capital Conference and led his team in tackles for loss and sacks this season.
Jacob Slade, DT, Lewis Center, Ohio 3 stars
The other half of the Slade twins from central Ohio, Jacob Slade is a bit heavier (272 vs 243 pounds) and plays the middle of the defensive line as opposed to the end spot. Jacob is a first team Division 1 All-State selection in Ohio by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association. He is considered a top 5 defensive tackle prospect out of the Buckeye State.
Fun fact: The Slade brothers wore reciprocating numbers in high school, Jacob #64 and Zachary #46.
Chase Kline, LB, Chardon, Ohio 3/4 stars
Kline is the reigning Division 3 player of the year in Ohio with 23 tackles for loss, nine sacks and 129 total tackles last season. Dantonio has said of Kline "He’s a great pass rusher and tackler who can really run and attack." Kline is considered a top 5 linebacker prospect in the state of Ohio.
Edward Warinner, LB, Powell, Ohio 3 stars
Warinner is one of seven recruits who will be enrolling early at Michigan State and will be allowed to take part in the spring game in 2018. Warriner anchored a defense that made a state semifinal run in Ohio, while piling up 56 tackles and four sacks his senior season. Warinner has MSU ties, his father Ed coached linebackers and secondary as a graduate assistant in the mid 80's under George Perles.
Davion Williams, ATH/DB, Belleville, Mich. 3 stars
A two sport star in football and basketball, Williams will be donning a green and white football jersey come fall of next year. Williams is listed as a top defensive player in the state, and a top five overall prospect in Michigan, by most recruiting services. Dantonio said "Davion is an extremely gifted athlete. He’s very smooth and a great jumper, and has displayed excellent ball skills and hand-eye coordination."
Jeslord Boateng, LB, Dublin, Ohio 3 stars
During his high school career, Boateng piled up over 100 tackles, including double-digit tackles for loss. Boateng received offers from Louisville, Kentucky, Iowa and Minnesota. He comes in to Michigan State ranked as a top five linebacker prospect out of Ohio. Dantonio is impressed by Boateng "He’s an active football player who has shown the ability to accelerate off the edge, and he has a big upside because of his length."
Kalon Gervin, DB, Detroit, Mich. 4 stars
Gervin was a later commitment to the Spartans, he announced his commitment on December 2nd with Virginia Tech also being rumored as a finalist. Gervin is one of seven early enrollees which will allow him to play in the spring game in 2018. Gervin's most impressive trait is arguably his speed, running a 4.4 40yard dash. Gervin was named the Michigan AP Division 1 player of the year and he will take part in the Under-Armour All-America Game on January 4.
Xavier Henderson, ATH/DB, Pickerington, Ohio 4 stars
Henderson weighed offers from many Big Ten teams other than MSU including Ohio State and Wisconsin. Henderson has been named the Columbus Dispatch All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year the last two years. Henderson has been committed to the Spartans since his junior season and has never wavered off of that. He won a division 1 state title in Ohio with Pickerington Central his senior season.
Michael Dowell, DB, Lakewood, Ohio 3 stars
After receiving offers from Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and Purdue, Michael Dowell joins his brothers Andrew and David at Michigan State. He is rated a top five cornerback in the state of Ohio. Dowell possesses potential to move to linebacker while at MSU according to Dantonio.
Chris Jackson, DB, Marietta, GA 3 stars
Originally a basketball player, Jackson displayed immense talent as a dual sport athlete, impressing Dantonio with a windmill dunk at one point. His brother, Justin plays basketball collegiately for the University of Chicago. Jackson's defensive play earned him offers from Michigan and Pittsburgh before he decided on Michigan State.
As of this writing Michigan State has the 24th ranked class nationally and fifth overall in the Big Ten by 247Sports. According to Rivals the Spartans are ranked 16th in the nation with this class and fourth in the Big Ten.