With the recent commitments of four-star tight end Matt Dotson of Cincinnati Moeller and three-star offensive lineman Jordan Reid of Detroit Cass Tech, Michigan State addressed two high-priority needs for the recruiting class of 2017.
But one position that the staff is still looking to address is cornerback. For 2017, the staff is focused on a pair of blue-chip Midwest prospects whom they believe can make an early impact.
Amir Riep of Cincinnati Colerain
The 6-foot, 180-pound prospect is rated a four-star recruit and the No. 236 player in the nation by rivals.com. He has scholarship offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Georgia and Notre Dame, among others. He is considered one of the top-five prospects in Ohio.
Riep is a player the Michigan State staff would love to see in Green and White, but it will be a tough battle with Ohio State. It’s never easy to beat the Buckeyes for an Ohio player, but the Spartans are definitely in the mix.
Ohio State has been wooing some out-of-region defensive backs, and that could benefit Michigan State. Defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett, a Cincinnati native, is Riep’s primary recruiter for Michigan State.
Ambry Thomas of Detroit King
Michigan State has had a lot of success at King the last few years, and the staff is hoping to continue that in 2017. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Thomas is rated a four-star recruit and the No. 174 player in the nation (No. 2 in Michigan) for 2017.
The Spartan staff has some strong connections to King High, given that director of college advancement/performance Curtis Blackwell and recruiting coordinator Butler Benton are alumni. Incoming MSU wide receiver recruit Donnie Corley graduated from King in December.
Thomas is not expected to make his decision until after his senior season, so this one has a ways to go. He recently attended The Opening in Oregon and had a strong performance at the event.
Both Riep and Thomas have been nominated for postseason accolades such as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Michigan State would like to see them wearing the same uniform in that game and on Signing Day in February.
Matt Dorsey is a recruiting analyst for spartanmag.com and rivals.com.