Sean Merriman is a recruiting aficionado who used to work for rivals.com and the Big Ten Network and now is with Intersport. Look for his mailbag every other week (with some live chats sprinkled in, too). If you have a recruiting question for Sean, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @merrimantweets.
There seemed to be a lot of MSU recruits who helped their stock with the way they played in their (senior) season. Do you think any will get reclassified up to 4 stars by NSD? If so, who? – Sparty Fan
Great question, Sparty Fan. I guess it depends on which rankings you look at, but Cody White is a guy who really stands out to me as someone who could boost his star ranking. The do-it-all athlete from Walled Lake Western had an outstanding senior season, and his versatility makes him a candidate for playing time as a freshman. I would be shocked if he isn’t a four-star prospect across the board by the time the final 2017 recruiting rankings come out.
Who are the most likely guys to join Henderson as MSU 2018 football commits? – Sparty
There are a couple offensive linemen and defensive backs who I think have a good chance to join Xavier Henderson in the Spartans’ 2018 class. On the offensive line, keep an eye on Ryan Hayes, Antwan Reed and Marquan McCall. All three are four-star prospects, and all three have been offered by MSU. Hayes and McCall are both in-state kids and are considered two of the best in Michigan. Also keep an eye on Michael Dowell and DeAndre Square. Dowell is the younger brother of current Spartans Andrew and David Dowell. Square is a four-star prospect from Detroit Cass Tech, which has produced numerous Michigan and Michigan State players over the past decade.
Langford was a 5-star recruit, McDonald’s All-American. You would expect someone with those accolades to make an immediate contribution. He certainly hasn’t played like it. Is there still an injury issue? Was he over-rated? – bleed_n_green
I agree that you would expect someone with those accolades to make an immediate impact, but I think Langford is still gaining a feel for the college game. Remember, he is still dealing with a hamstring issue, and coach Tom Izzo has said on multiple occasions that his stamina and conditioning are nowhere near where it should be right now. I thought Langford looked much better against Youngstown State this week. Look for him to take a big leap with the absence of Miles Bridges, as MSU needs him to be effective on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. If he can get healthy and become the player that Izzo and his staff recruited out of Alabama, I think Michigan State has a good shot at competing for a Big Ten championship this season.
Do you expect Donovan Peoples-Jones to commit on or very close to National Signing Day? – Sessions
I expect Donovan Peoples-Jones to commit in the next couple of weeks. Following Cass Tech’s win in the Division 1 state championship game, Peoples-Jones said he probably would make his decision within the next month. He also has said that he plans to enroll early, which means that a decision would be expected sooner than later. I still think Michigan is the leader, but as of right now, it’s between Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Florida and Florida State. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, as he could make his college announcement any day now.
How much will the bad season hurt MSU in recruiting? – Will
There are positives and negatives when it comes to recruiting for Michigan State. The negative is that the prestige of the program took a hit after a surprising 3-9 season. While you would like to see prospective recruits judge the Spartans on the sustained success they had before this season, that won’t necessarily be the case. On the positive side, Dantonio and his staff showed that they are not afraid to play true freshmen early and often. That has to be enticing to recruits looking to come to a school where they can make an immediate impact in a conference that was the best in the country this season. The other positive is that Dantonio and his staff are able to hit the recruiting trail hard right now, as they aren’t busy preparing for a bowl game. The chance to get one-on-one face time with recruits during this time period is an advantage.
Does the fact Michigan is losing so many starters give them an advantage in recruiting? – blueblazer
As I mentioned in the previous answer, early playing time is something that is always enticing to recruits. With losing so many starters from this year’s team, that does open the opportunity for immediate playing time. Both wide receiver and offensive line will be hit hard by graduation this year, which is why you could see someone like a Peoples-Jones or Tarik Black come in and play right away for the Wolverines. On defense, the Wolverines will be tasked with replacing pretty much the entire starting unit. That has to be enticing for young players interested in playing right away, especially if they look at the success this unit had under new DC Don Brown.
What percentage do you give Michigan of flipping Najee Harris? – Michael
I’d give it 15%. My guess is that Harris stays committed to Alabama. However, a lot depends on how his upcoming visit to Ann Arbor goes. If Jim Harbaugh can work his magic during that visit, it’s possible we could see Harris shock the world and end up as a Wolverine.