Fox Sports NEXT analyst Dave Berk thinks it's a two-horse race between MSU and Kentucky for Darius West. (Photo courtesy of Fox Sports NEXT)
Lima (Ohio) Central Catholic four-star safety Darius West is scheduled to make his commitment next Thursday and named a top four of Michigan State, Kentucky, Louisville and Wisconsin. With a college-ready body at 6-0 and 195 pounds, he is just the type of player the Spartans are looking for defensively.
"He's a big, physical player who's going to be a safety," Fox Sports NEXT analyst Dave Berk says. "At Michigan State, in their defense, you never know, though. You could see him make a move as he physically develops into an outside linebacker, just because they like to get that speed on the field."
West accumulated offers from across the country. His list includes Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Purdue, Cincinnati, North Carolina State and more. While he did narrow that list down, Berk believes it really is a two-horse race.
"Right now, I would put it as a battle between Michigan State and Kentucky," Berk said. "I think he's very impressed with the previous performance Coach (Mark) Stoops (at Kentucky) has had with defensive backs throughout his coaching career and getting guys to the league. That's the one thing that has really caught his eye."
Stoops, Kentucky's new head coach, has been defensive coordinator / defensive backs coach at Florida State and Arizona.
While West is not expected to visit East Lansing again before he makes his choice, he was there last summer and has held the Spartans in high regard since.
"He camped there last year and felt they were honest with him in their assessment of him and interest in him," Berk said. "He really likes what Coach Dantonio is doing as far as being a defensive-minded coach. He knows Coach Dantonio has been there awhile and he knows he will be there for years to come. He knows what he gets if he picks MSU. He also has a former teammate, Tyler O'Connor, who is also there and I'm sure he's hearing good things from Tyler."
The Spartans only recently offered West, but he says that will not have any bearing on his decision. Winning and playing fast, physical defense will.
"I just talked with Coach (Harlon) Barnett the other day," said West. "Michigan State has had a top-five defense the past few seasons and has been a winning program under Coach Dantonio."
As a junior, West had 69 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble.
Spartan prospects rise
Fox Sports NEXT/Scout.com updated the rankings of several Spartan prospects and commits this week. Rochester Adams commit Matt Sokol, previously unranked, is now a three-star and the No. 37 tight end in the country. Offensive tackle Chase Gianacakos moved from the No. 56 player at his position to No. 35 on the strength of his offseason camp performances and continued tape evaluation. Terry Ramsey, a defensive end from Ohio the Spartans have offered, debuts as a three-star.
New East Coast offers
According to Fox Sports NEXT's Rachel Klein and Brian Dohn, Michigan State offered two at Baltimore's Gilman School this week. The first was class of 2015 quarterback/wide receiver Kai Locksley. The 6-4, 185-pound Locksley's father is Mike Locksley, the current offensive coordinator for the Maryland Terrapins. The other offer at the school was outside linebacker Melvin Klein, a 6-3, 225-pound junior four-star prospect with 14 offers.
Four-star wide receiver Jamil Kamara of Bishop Sullivan Catholic in Virginia Beach was offered last Friday, according to Fox Sports NEXT's Michael Clark. The 6-2, 205-pound Kamara has a boatload of offers, including North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Miami (Fla.), Wisconsin and others, but currently has Virginia in the lead.
Darius West profile: http://bit.ly/ZgMsmz
Jamil Kamara profile: http://bit.ly/14DJIyp
Matt Sokol profile: http://bit.ly/10lL0cl
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.