Lamar Dawson on Michigan State: "It's a huge stadium. I liked it. ... It's the biggest BCS school I've been to." (Photo courtesy of Chicago St. Rita)
The same physical, aggressive style that allowed Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard to become All-Big Ten performers and NFL prospects is the same style that Chicago St. Rita junior cornerback Lamar Dawson used to grab eight interceptions last season. At 6-foot and 190 pounds, he fits the Spartan mold and thus, it was no surprise when he received a scholarship offer last Friday on a visit to East Lansing.
"He had transferred in the summer," Mustangs head coach Todd Kuska said, "so he was just getting to know both the players, coaches, and the school itself. He really progressed very well throughout the season. You can tell, as he got more comfortable in his surroundings, he played at a higher level. He was playing as well as any defensive back I've seen in my years here toward end of the season."
The numbers back that up, as six of Dawson's eight interceptions came in the last four games of the season.
"He's a very athletic kid," Kuska said. "He has great ball skills where he can go up and get the ball. He has excellent skills with the ball in his hands. A lot of people are toying between safety and corner. It's hard to judge the talent of a cornerback in today's high school game in some spots. You never know the talent they're up against. Do they have the cover skills? I believe he does."
Central Michigan and Northern Illinois are Dawson's other offers, but Big Ten programs Minnesota, Purdue and others are expected to stop in during the spring evaluation period. After getting to see Michigan State last week, he found himself impressed, particularly with the facilities.
"It's a huge stadium," Dawson explained. "I liked it. It's a different experience. It's the biggest BCS school I've been to. The others haven't been quite as big and the way Coach Dantonio coaches is pretty neat."
Dawson says he would like to decide his college destination before the start of his senior season. Will it be Michigan State? That remains to be seen, but if it is, the Spartans would be getting a great fit, not just in his style of play, but in the way he prepares, as well.
"He's not a follower, he's a leader," Kuska says. "When he goes to work, he goes to work. He has the drive inside of him to be the best player he can be."
Cass Tech visitors
Michigan State hosted Detroit Cass Tech sophomores Jayru Campbell, Mike Weber and Joshua Alabi for practice Thursday. Campbell, a 6-3, 180-pound quarterback, Weber, a 5-9, 190-pound running back, and Alabi, a 6-5, 255-pound defensive end, all have offers from the Spartans already.
The Green and White have had success at the school the last two years, signing offensive tackle Dennis Finley in the 2013 class and securing a commitment from linebacker Deon Drake in the 2015 class.
Top targets at spring game
There will be a number of recruits in East Lansing on Saturday for the annual spring game, a few of which will come in with offers. Detroit Loyola defensive lineman Malik McDowell, one of the top prospects in the state, says he will likely attend. The 6-6, 290-pound junior landed offers from Alabama and LSU this week.
Galion (Ohio) High wide receiver Dareian Watkins has Michigan State in his final group and this will be one of his final visits before he makes a decision.
Hinsdale Central (Ill.) center Brian Allen, younger brother of current Spartan Jack Allen, will be on hand, and some have speculated that he may make a commitment soon with MSU in strong position.
Lamar Dawson profile: http://bit.ly/13rO26r
Malik McDowell profile: http://bit.ly/17th8yX
Brian Allen profile: http://bit.ly/13rOaCU
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.