Allen Trieu of Scout.com expects Byron Bullough of Traverse City St. Francis to be an 'impact player.' (Photo courtesy of Traverse City Record-Eagle)
Michigan State fans hoping for a bounce in recruiting on the heels of the Spartans’ Rose Bowl victory over Stanford are advised to show some patience.
After the school’s best season in nearly 50 years, MSU will reap the benefits, experts say, in the 2015 recruiting class – but not so much this season.
National Signing Day is less than two weeks away and MSU’s 2014 recruiting class could finish in the top 25 nationally -- surely in the top five in the Big Ten and perhaps as high as third.
Ohio State is the big winner in the Big Ten and is currently ranked No. 2 nationally by Rivals.com and Tom Lemming of CBS Sports/Prep Football Report. Scout.com has the Buckeyes No. 3 nationally behind the consensus No. 1 – Alabama -- and Tennessee.
“The people at Michigan State, those in the program and the fans, are hoping to become a national power,” Lemming said. “The Rose Bowl (victory) will help but it will help next year’s class. It’s in the spring and the summer recruiting where they’ll cash in. The last two weeks of January, schools are recruiting the top juniors -- even working on the 2016 (class).”
Lemming said the meat of this year’s MSU class is with the linemen. In Brian Allen (Hinsdale, Ill.), the Spartans landed the top center in the Midwest, according to Lemming, and the best player in western Pennsylvania in defensive back Montae Nicholson (Monroeville).
Running back Madre London of St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale) is one of the top backs from Florida and is proof that MSU can recruit well outside of the Midwest.
Allen Trieu, a recruiting analyst for Scout who specializes on the players in the Midwest, said it was important for MSU not only to win the Big Ten championship, but to earn the Rose Bowl victory.
“It gives them a chance to close out on some recruits before Signing Day,” he said. “As a whole, it will help more next year. In a spotlight game, against a major team (Stanford), kids from outside the Midwest watched the Spartans win a BCS game.”
Of the 20 commitments MSU has received for 2014, three are four-star recruits and 17 are three-star. Trieu said MSU’s top recruit might be Vayante Copeland of Dayton Marshall.
“We feel he’s the cream of the crop,” Trieu said. “Another (four-star), and possible All-America candidate, is Byron Bullough (Traverse City St. Francis). We expect him to be an impact player.
“The sleeper in this class could be Matt Sokol (Rochester Adams) at tight end. He’ll be one of those guys we’ll look back and say he was one of those players Michigan State coached up.”
Scout rates Michigan second with Wisconsin third. With just 16 commitments, U-M just doesn’t have much depth in this class.
“It’s a good class,” Trieu said. “It could be top-20. They have some spots open. (Lineman) Malik McDowell (Southfield) is one they want. But they won’t stretch the number just to fill the spots. They might end up with 18.”
Trieu said there are two surprise teams – Wisconsin and Penn State. Trieu said normally the state of Wisconsin produces two or three four-star players. This year that number doubled and the Badgers nabbed four of them.
Scout has Wisconsin No. 21 in the country but Rivals ranks the Badgers No. 30.
Lemming said SEC recruiting once again is No. 1, with the ACC and the Pac-12 neck-and-neck for second, with the Big Ten fourth. He said the addition of Rutgers and Maryland hasn’t made a big impact. Lemming said he doesn’t foresee either one cracking the top six in the conference.
“Northwestern is having an outstanding class,” he said. “They have just 15 commitments but if you took the top 15 from all the Big Ten teams, Northwestern would be in the top five.
“No one will catch Ohio State. They got the top offensive lineman from Texas (Demetrius Knox, Fort Worth) and Illinois (Jamarco Jones, Chicago). They got linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga), and Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens) is one of the best receivers out of Florida.”
How they rank
How Big Ten team are ranked in recruiting for the 2014 class:
Tom Lemming, CBS Sports/Prep Football report: 1. Ohio State; 2. Michigan; 3. Wisconsin; 4. Michigan State; 5. Penn State; 6. Nebraska, 7. Iowa; 8. Northwestern; 9. Minnesota; 10. Indiana; 11. Rutgers; 12. Maryland; 13. Purdue; 14. Illinois.
Scout: 1. Ohio State; 2. Michigan; 3. Wisconsin; 4. Michigan State; 5. Penn State; 6. Nebraska, 7. Rutgers; 8. Indiana; 9. Iowa; 10. Northwestern; 11. Maryland; 12. Purdue; 13. Illinois; 14. Minnesota.
Rivals: 1. Ohio State; 2. Michigan; 3. Wisconsin; 4. Penn State; 5. Michigan State; 6. Nebraska; 7. Indiana, 8. Rutgers; 9. Northwestern; 10. Iowa; 11. Purdue; 12. Maryland; 13. Illinois; 14. Minnesota.