Michigan State remains in contention to recruit Cass Tech cornerback Dior Mathis (3), a top-rated prospect also considering Michigan. (Todd McInturf/The Detroit News)
Despite a 1-2 start this season, Michigan State appears to remain in good standing on the recruiting trail.
After third-year coach Mark Dantonio nabbed one of the program's best freshman classes, he appears on pace for another.
"They are right where they want to be," CBSSports.com recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "I think they can win a Big Ten title in a couple years."
The Spartans have 12 commitments for 2010 and remain in contention for Dior Mathis, a top-rated cornerback from Cass Tech who also is considering Michigan, Miami and Oregon.
"It all comes down to the salesmanship of the coach and the assistant coaches," Lemming said. "You can say, 'We're this far away from being a BCS contender, all we need is you here.' "
Another strong season for the Spartans could lead to more top recruits.
Highly regarded Indianapolis safety Isaiah Lewis, who has verbally committed, took notice of Michigan State's nine victories in 2008, said Jim Comparoni, editor of SpartanMag.com, a Rivals.com affiliate.
"He told me one of the reasons he picked Michigan State over Purdue and Kentucky was because Michigan State was an established winner," Comparoni said. "I don't remember the last time an out-of-state recruit told me that."
Close losses no factor
Dantonio said Tuesday he hasn't been asked by recruits why the Spartans have struggled to win close games because they base their college choice on several other factors.
The opportunity to play, quality of facilities and relationships with coaches and players are the popular topics.
"A lot of our recruits come from programs that maybe haven't won quite as much or are having their own tough times," Dantonio said. "There usually is a little bit of understanding there."
By the numbers
4-1 Michigan State's record vs. Wisconsin in Big Ten openers (one win forfeited, self-imposed sanctions)
12-3 MSU's record under Dantonio when leading after first quarter
A look at final records after 1-2 Michigan State starts:
|Mark Dantonio||2009 (-)|
|John L. Smith||2004 (5-7)|
|Nick Saban||1998 (6-6), 1996 (6-6)|
|George Perles||1994 (5-6), 1989 (8-4), 1987 (9-2-1), 1984 (6-6)|
|Muddy Waters||1981 (5-6), 1980 (3-8)|
|Darryl Rogers||1978 (8-3)|
|Denny Stolz||1973 (5-6)|
|Duffy Daugherty||1972 (5-5-1), 1970 (4-6), 1967 (3-7), 1964 (4-5), 1959 (5-4), 1954 (3-6)|
|Biggie Munn||1948 (6-2-2)|
|Charlie Bachman||1946 (5-5), 1942 (4-3-2), 1941 (5-3-1), 1940 (3-4-1), 1939 (4-4-1)|
|Jim Crowley||1929 (5-3)|
|Ralph Young||1925 (3-5), 1923 (3-5)|
|Albert Barron||1921 (3-5)|
|George Denman||1902 (4-5)|
|Charles O. Bemies||1900 (1-3)|
|Henry Keep||1898 (4-3)|
Michigan State at Wisconsin
Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
TV/radio: ESPN/WJR 760
Records: Michigan State 1-2, Wisconsin 3-0
Line: Wisconsin by 3