Football

Recruiting: This weekend a big one for Michigan State visitors

Curtis Blackwell, left, coordinates recruiting for MSU coach Mark Dantonio. The process has changed since Blackwell went through it.

Curtis Blackwell, left, coordinates recruiting for MSU coach Mark Dantonio. The process has changed since Blackwell went through it.

This weekend, over 50 recruits from the classes of 2017, 2018 and 2019 will be in East Lansing for the Michigan State-Wisconsin game. Many of the players that will be on campus attended camp this summer and are solidly on the MSU recruiting board.

The Spartans were initially looking to host several class of 2017 prospects on official recruiting trips this weekend, but opted to push visits back with home games against Michigan and Ohio State still on tap.

MSU coach Mark Dantonio and his staff prefer to use official visits during game day weekends for uncommitted prospects from outside of the Midwest. It is always risky having recruits from Florida and Georgia traveling to Michigan during January.

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A player that is expected to be on campus that is traveling from down south is Carrollton (Ga.) defensive tackle Josh Walker. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound prospect was visited by the MSU staff during the bye week. Walker will be one of the top defensive line prospect out of Georgia for 2018.

The players that have already committed to MSU usually take their official visit all together so they can build more rapport. The staff prefers that weekend to be after the season so they can spend more time with the players and their respective families. Many of the committed player will be on campus in an unofficial capacity.

A player of note that plans on being on campus is Pickerington (Ohio) Central tight end Trenton Gillison. The 6-5, 220-pound Gillison is the top rated prospect in Ohio at his position and is a Rivals.com top 100 recruit. He already holds offers from MSU and Wisconsin. Ohio State has not offered him a scholarship.

Gillison is teammates with the Spartans’ first 2018 commitment, defensive back Xavier Henderson. The fellow Rivals.com four-star will certainly look to have his teammate join him in Green and White.

Another player expected in East Lansing is Rockford quarterback Jason Whittaker. He is the No. 5 prospect in the state for 2018 by Rivals.com. The 6-5, 195-pounder will challenge with Dearborn Divine Child’s Theo Day to see who is the top pro-style quarterback in Michigan. Both Whittaker and Day distinguished themselves at the Spartan’s Elite Player Camp in June.

Under the lead of MSU director of advancement & performance Curtis Blackwell and recruiting coordinator Butler Benton, the MSU staff does an outstanding job of identifying prospects early and getting them on campus for a variety of functions.

Solid to Michigan State

This past weekend it was reported that MSU quarterback commit Rocky Lombardi (West Des Moines Valley) was in Iowa City to see the Hawkeyes take on North Dakota State. Lombardi took the visit with fellow teammates and he is solid in his commitment to the Spartans.

Matt Dorsey is a recruiting analyst for SpartanMag.com and Rivals.com.

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