Chris Frey has been mentored by former Lions linebacker Chris Spielman. (Photo courtesy of Scott Reed / SWOF)
If you had to build a Mark Dantonio recruit from scratch, he would probably end up pretty close to Chris Frey, the newest prospect to verbally commit to the Spartans in the 2014 class. He's from Ohio (Upper Arlington High School), a place this staff has regularly recruited since before their time in East Lansing. He's also a tough, hard-nosed linebacker who earned MVP honors at the Best of the Midwest Combine, where he had to be removed from part of a 7-on-7 for leveling an unsuspecting receiver coming over the middle.
"He fits the profile of MSU under Coach Dantonio," Fox Sports NEXT Ohio analyst Bill Greene says. "They're so good at evaluating and we've seen guys before, little under the radar, three-star kid, and they take them and develop them. Chris is maybe not the most gifted kid in terms of speed, but he plays the game so hard. He's been taught how to play the right way. He will absolutely come downhill and stick his nose in there, and that's something those bigger, longer, faster guys don't always want to do."
The 6-2, 215-pound Frey visited campus Monday, when Kentucky offered him a scholarship. He quickly narrowed the field to the two schools and admitted it was a tough decision, but one that ultimately led him to Michigan State.
"After visiting this week it was clear they were the best place," Frey explained. "They have proven to be a great program. I'm totally sold on the program. They have shown that defense wins championships, and they turn out great linebackers."
One of Frey's high school teammates is Noah Spielman, the son of former Ohio State and Lions linebacker Chris Spielman. The elder Spielman has served as a mentor to Frey, and the two spoke shortly after his commitment this week.
"He told me what a great choice I was making in Michigan State," Frey said. "He said if his son was going to Michigan State to play for Coach Dantonio, he would sleep well every night knowing he was there. That meant a lot to me, just the respect and trust he has for Coach Dantonio."
And Dantonio has trust in Frey, that he will be one of the next under-recruited players from Ohio to help the Spartans win.
"He has the work ethic and drive and determination," Greene explains. "That's what's going to carry him. He's a guy that could maybe be a captain someday for them. That's the type of kid he is."
MSU in final four
Darius West, a highly-regarded defensive back from Lima Central Catholic in Ohio, was offered by Michigan State this week and he subsequently put them in his final four along with Kentucky, Louisville and Wisconsin. A physical 6-0, 195-pound prospect, West says he will be making his decision within the next two weeks.
Offers around the country
MSU has been busy on the recruiting trail this week, handing out offers from coast to coast. Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby linebacker Kris Harris was one of the recipients. A 6-0, 220-pound WILL prospect, he has offers from Mississippi, Mississippi State, Florida and Texas Tech.
Another Florida-based linebacker, Tampa Jefferson's Juwuan Brown, was offered as well. The Spartans will battle Michigan, Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana, USF and others for the 6-3, 215-pound junior.
Anthony Davis, a long, athletic 6-1, 175-pound cover corner from Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway was offered. He now has 16 offers, including fellow Big Ten schools Nebraska, Penn State and Illinois, among others. He says he plans to visit East Lansing, but has not set a date yet.
In Cincinnati, the Spartans got started early with sophomore linebacker Justin Hilliard, who was offered Tuesday. The 6-1, 210-pound St. Xavier High product already has offer from Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Nebraska and Toledo, as well. He visited Michigan State on Monday and says he has no favorites in his recruitment as of now.
Out West, Michigan State offered Trevor Wood, a 6-5, 235-pound tight end from Scottsdale Chaparral in Arizona. He has offers from most of the Pac-12 schools, including Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona. He also holds an Oklahoma offer, but the MSU was his first from the Big Ten.
Chris Frey profile: http://bit.ly/14ucCQO
Darius West profile: http://bit.ly/14ucHnC
Justin Hilliard profile: http://bit.ly/11IvAqk
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.