Current Spartans such as Malik McDowell, Lawrence Thomas, LJ Scott, Brian Allen and Montae Nicholson are just a few of the players who have been invited to participate in postseason All-American games. Michigan State’s recruiting class of 2016 is the highest-rated of the Mark Dantonio era, so it only makes sense that multiple Spartan commitments would be participating in one of these contests.
There are four main postseason games that players target. The one that most players are familiar with is the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. That was the first prep bowl game that gained national audience appeal. Under Armour sponsors the All-American Bowl in Tampa. The Marine Corps sponsors the Semper-Fideles All-American Bowl in Los Angeles. Then there’s the Offense-Defense All-American game in Daytona Beach, Fla.
It looks like the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game will be the one that will have the most Spartan representation with five commitments (so far) that have been invited to play in that game. Those players include Darien (Ill.) Hinsdale South defensive end Josh King, Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Wayne defensive end Auston Robertson, Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek wide receiver Cameron Chambers, Detroit Cass Tech safety Demtric Vance and Battle Creek Central linebacker Brandon Randle. The 5 players in one contest is the highest representation MSU has ever had in one game.
Quarterback commitment Messiah deWeaver is off to a very strong start to his senior campaign and he recently received the news that he has been selected to play in the Semper-Fideles All-American Bowl game. Scott was a dominant performer in last year’s game. Evanston (Ill.) defensive tackle NaQuan Jones has also been reportedly invited to participate in that game.
It would not be a surprise if several additional Spartan commitments get selected for these events. All of these games usually need to fill spots late due to injuries or prior commitments. Players who have had exceptional senior seasons and are seeing their recruiting rankings rise often get the nod. A few players to keep an eye on for MSU are West Bloomfield wide receiver Trishton Jackson and Cleveland Benedictine wide receiver Justin Layne. Durham (N.C.) Hillside running back Abdul Adams and Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk are other players that are being evaluated.
While it is true that many outstanding players never get to participate in these events, they do provide a good gauge for ability. Players that are able to dominate at these types of events usually are viewed as instant impact level prospects.
Matt Dorsey is a recruiting analyst for SpartanMag.com and Rivals.com.