Michigan State and top-ranked recruits haven’t always gone hand-in-hand. However, since the beginning of the 2010’s Mark Dantonio has taken things up a notch on the field and in the 2016 recruiting class those efforts are paying off in a major way.
Already one of the better classes in the Big Ten and the country, Michigan State got a huge commitment on Friday. Hinsdale (Illinois) South Top 100 defensive end Josh King made his verbal pledge to Dantonio and the Spartans.
With the commitment the Spartans have 14 verbal commits in the 2016 class, and MSU moved up in the 247Sports composite team rankings — going from No. 10 to No. 8.
King, rated as the No. 75 player in the country, the No. 6 strong-side defensive end and the No. 1 player in Illinois is easily the best of the 14 commits and is the third four-star commit in the 2016 class. He joins Ohio wide receiver Justin Layne and New Jersey wide receiver Cameron Chambers as four star players in this class already.
Add in high three-star quarterback Messiah deWeaver out of Dayton, Ohio (whom 247Sports has as a four-star in their personal rankings), and you can see the beginnings of a high-quality class on paper.
However, that group could grow much bigger this weekend if things go well. It could be especially big on the defensive line this weekend, with fellow top 100 defensive end Auston Robertson announcing his choice on Saturday.
All three players happen to have Michigan State well out in front according to sources and other reports.
Landing four four-star players in one weekend would certainly make any other school in the country stand up and take notice. However, it really could bode well for the conference’s hopes on the recruiting trail in the future.
A rising tide seems to lift all boats, or at least challenge those around it to be better. With Ohio State in a dog fight for the No. 1 class in the country right now, Michigan State sitting at No. 8, Penn State at No. 12 and both Minnesota and Michigan within the top 25 of the national rankings the Big Ten is taking a big step forward.
The key will be turning the momentum of early June in to results on national signing day. There certainly is a long way to go, but the summer could be huge for Michigan State and the rest of the Big Ten.
If King’s commitment is a sign of things to come for this weekend in East Lansing, Michigan State may very well end up with a top 5 national class. Considering Dantonio’s history with lower-end recruits, the thought of a great recruiting class and his ability to coach players up has to scare the rest of the conference.