EAST LANSING – Michigan State’s football program enters a key recruiting period for its 2018 class without its primary recruiting organizer.
Curtis Blackwell has been suspended with pay, the university confirmed Tuesday. The 39-year-old’s official title is the football program’s director of college advancement and performance. Blackwell’s roles include developing and implementing MSU’s recruiting strategies, mentoring student-athletes, organizing official and unofficial visits for recruits, developing “recruiting mailings,” and promoting MSU football.
An athletic department spokesman said Mark Dantonio would not comment on Blackwell’s suspension, which comes at a time when a number of high school juniors are beginning to add and remove schools from consideration in their recruitments.
An NCAA-mandated “quiet period” in the recruiting calendar for the Football Bowl Subdivision began Feb. 3. That means coaches can bring high school prospects on campus for official and unofficial visits, send recruits letters and emails and make calls to prospective players. Coaches cannot visit prospects at their schools or homes.
The “quiet period” goes until April 14. An “evaluation period” runs from April 15-May 31, when coaches can also visit high schools but cannot have direct contact with prep recruits who are juniors. That “evaluation period” typically is a time when a number of scholarship offers are extended.
MSU has a number of other people in the program whose responsibilities deal with recruiting and can help offset Blackwell’s absence.
Assistant Brad Salem, whose main job is to coach the Spartans’ quarterbacks, is in his seventh season as recruiting coordinator. Offensive line coach Mark Staten served as Dantonio’s recruiting coordinator for four seasons at MSU and three years at Cincinnati.
Other non-coaching staffers who focus on recruiting include Butler Benton (recruiting operations coordinator), Matt Mueller (director of on-campus recruiting), and three recruiting interns – Ethan McGuire and former MSU players Javon Ringer and Jairus Jones.
MSU already has three 4-star recruits from Ohio lined up for its 2018 class: defensive back Xavier Henderson, tight end Trenton Gillison from Pickerington Central and wide receiver Joseph Scates from Dayton Dunbar.