EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Auston Robertson saga, from major Michigan State football commitment to legal trouble to several weeks of limbo, has resulted in Robertson joining the Spartans after all.
Michigan State confirmed Wednesday the signing of the four-star defensive end from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne High. He becomes the 20th member of the 2016 class and the 19th to go on scholarship right away – kicker Matt Coghlin will go on scholarship in 2017.
The 18-year-old Robertson, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound recruit ranked No. 10 nationally at his position by rivals.com, picked MSU in June over scholarship offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and many others.
But he was arrested Jan. 13 on a battery charge stemming from an Oct. 22 incident at his school, Wayne High. He was accused of improperly touching a female classmate, according to Allen Superior Court 4 records.
Robertson did not respond to a call seeking comment Wednesday. The school released a statement from coach Mark Dantonio on Wednesday evening.
“Our decision to accept Auston Robertson’s signed National Letter of Intent and Big Ten Tender has been evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation,” Dantonio said. “Our relationship with Auston began last summer when he committed to Michigan State. When we accepted his verbal (commitment), we also made a commitment to him and his family.
“We elected not to sign him in early February, and since then he has been accepted into a pretrial diversionary program and must continue to satisfy those requirements. Given all the information available to us, we believe Auston should be provided with an opportunity to begin his education and playing career at Michigan State.”
The addition of Robertson strengthens what national recruiting analyst Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.com already called one of the top defensive line classes in the country. It includes three other four-star players in defensive end Josh King (Darien, Ill.) and defensive tackles Naquan Jones (Evanston Township, Ill.) and Mike Panasiuk (Rosell, Ill.)
Also, 2015 defensive end recruit Mufi Hunt (Murray, Utah) joined the team this semester after a knee injury forced him to postpone his Mormon mission.
The addition of Robertson gave MSU’s class rankings a bump – up from No. 20 to No. 18 by rivals.com, up from 23 to 18 in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, which takes several services into account.