Chase Gianacakos is rated a three-star recruit and the No. 55 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com. (Photo courtesy of Scout.com)
During the conference basketball schedule, many schools use the opportunity to get football prospects on campus. Michigan State has hosted a number of juniors and even a few sophomores who have offers or are in line for one.
In the case of St. Charles (Ill.) North offensive tackle Chase Gianacakos, his visit for the Spartans' win over Michigan in early February was one of the starting points for an offer, which came this week. The 6-6, 280-pound junior has offers from several colleges, including Illinois, where both his parents went to school, but his experience in East Lansing sets the Spartans up to potentially overcome the family ties.
"The atmosphere was great. It was a great visit and I'm very interested in Michigan State," he said. "I really like the coaches a lot and it's a great school. I also was able to meet several current players and they seem like great people."
Lawrence Marshall, a four-star defensive end from Southfield, has had a Spartan offer for awhile now. Following his decommitment from Ohio State, he has been to Michigan State a couple times for basketball games. Most recently, he attended the home wins over Michigan and Wisconsin. At both games, he had a chance to speak further with the coaches.
"I talked to Coach Dantonio," the 6-4, 215-pound junior explained. "We were just talking about recruiting and he said, 'Take your time and find the right school.'"
A top five in-state prospect, Marshall is a key recruit for the Spartans. He says he is becoming increasingly comfortable in East Lansing, as he is getting to know the current players and the staff more and more.
"I got a chance to talk to a lot of players and just had a great time up there," he said. "I talked to (new defensive line coach) Ron Burton. We had a great conversation."
In addition to Gianacakos and Marshall, the Spartans also hosted several in-state prospects who do not have offers, but are in contention for them. Detroit Country Day's junior trio of wide receiver Maurice Ways, quarterback Tyler Wiegers and running back Richard Wilson visited last weekend. The 6-4, 190-pound Ways becomes an intriguing target with Drake Harris' decommitment. Linemen from the state's west side, Jordan Van Dort (Zeeland West) and Nick Padla (Berrien Springs), also visited recently, along with Detroit Cass Tech linebacker William White.
Four of the best sophomores in the state also took in games at the Breslin Center. Detroit Cass Tech's Jayru Campbell (quarterback), Mike Weber (running back) and Joshua Alabi (defensive end), and Saginaw Heritage safety Brian Cole, all hold early offers from the Spartans.
With spring practice now starting, nearly all of these prospects are slated to return to East Lansing to see the football team work, but it was the basketball program that helped bridge the winter months by giving gridiron prospects a good look at the school.
More Spartan offers
Scout's Anna Hickey reported on Wednesday that Carmel (Ind.) junior wide receiver Austin Roberts received an MSU offer while on a visit. The 6-2, 190-pound Roberts, the son of Indianapolis Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, holds additional offers from Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Stanford and many others.
Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII junior receiver Noah Brown was offered this week, according to Scout's Brian Dohn. Brown has good size at 6-2 and 205 pounds, and the versatility to have played running back and defensive back, as well. He has other offers from Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Rutgers, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and others.
Finally, Michigan State is one of a handful of schools to have already offered Miami Westminster Christian running back Tim Irvin. Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama have also offered the 5-10, 183-pound youngster. The Spartans' advantage here is that his uncle and high school head coach is former Spartan running back Sedrick Irvin. His uncle, Michael Irvin, is a former Hurricane and NFL All-Pro, but Tim maintains he is giving all schools who offer a fair shake.
Chase Gianacakos: http://bit.ly/WqSM7o
Lawrence Marshall: http://bit.ly/YelF4c
Tim Irvin: http://bit.ly/15Pt5jB
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show.His Michigan State recruiting column appears every Friday at detroitnews.com. For more on MSU recruiting, visit michiganstate.scout.com.