August 23, 2013 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

St. Mary's CB Tyson Smith has positive first impressions of Michigan State

Tyson Smith upends Drake Harris of Grand Rapids Christian during the Division 3 state championship game last season at Ford Field. Grand Rapids Christian defeated Orchard Lake St. Mary's 40-37 in OT. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

After coming to Michigan State’s camp and earning an offer in June, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s rising junior cornerback Tyson Smith returned to East Lansing for an unofficial visit last Sunday. The Spartans were the first school to offer the 6-0, 175-pound cover man, and he now has a good first visit impression of the school to go along with that offer.

“It was a fun place to be,” he said. “It was a fun team. Everybody comes together in the team meetings. They have some of the seniors talking and sharing some of their best moments, embarrassing moments of theirs throughout their lives. It seems liked something really cool for them to do.”

Smith got to work firsthand with the coaching staff at camp, in particular, defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett, and while Sunday’s visit did not include an actual practice, he still was able to get a little taste of what it will be like to play in college.

“We got to watch how they worked out, got to talk in a private meeting with Coach Dantonio, got to go to position meetings,” he said. “I got to see their equipment and jerseys and what they are thinking about using this year.”

Smith is also hearing from Ohio State, where he also camped this summer, Wisconsin, Indiana, Penn State and more. He and his Orchard Lake St. Mary’s squad kick off the season Aug. 30 against Oak Park in the Detroit Kickoff Classic at Wayne State.

Lacrosse or football?

After a big junior season as a safety and kicker, Birmingham Brother Rice’s Jason Alessi has not seen a ton of football recruiting attention come his way, largely because of a lacrosse commitment to the University of Michigan.

Alessi now says he wants to pursue playing football in college, and although he maintains his commitment to the Michigan lacrosse team, he is beginning to hear from more and more schools for football. Air Force has offered a full scholarship, while Cornell has extended the Ivy League equivalent of an offer. Michigan State is also interested and had him up for a visit recently.

“It was cool because not only is it big-time, Division 1, but it was such a team,” Alessi said. “Coach Dantonio was really passionate about the whole team and he cares about everyone and makes anyone feel welcome. Plus, they have one of the best teams in the Big Ten.”

Alessi also said he hopes to return to East Lansing for a game this fall. Brother Rice will start its season Aug. 31 against Cleveland St. Ignatius, also in the Detroit Kickoff Classic.

In-state visitors aplenty

Sunday’s visit day also included Northville rising junior tight end Ryan Roberts, an intriguing 6-7, 230-pound prospect. Also being recruited in basketball, Roberts is also fielding interest from Nebraska, Notre Dame and Miami (Fla.).

East Grand Rapids class of 2015 linebacker Carter Masek and quarterback Mikey Roth both made the trip. Both are part of the Maximum Exposure program started by MSU’s Director of Player Advancement and Camp Director Curtis Blackwell. The 6-3, 220-pound Masek holds an early offer from Western Michigan and is receiving interest from Indiana, Penn State and more. Roth, an outstanding student, is hearing from a number of Ivy League programs.

Another Maximum Exposure member, Oak Park rising junior defensive tackle Shahid Bellamy, visited on Sunday. At 6-3 and 265 pounds, he has good size for a young prospect and started both ways for the Knights last season.

One young prospect who came to visit was Orchard Lake St. Mary’s class of 2016 linebacker Daelin Hayes. The cousin of Michigan running back Justice Hayes played varsity for the Eaglets last year and is already attracting colleges with his athleticism and 6-2, 200-pound frame. He told Fox Sports NEXT he had an opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Mark Dantonio during the visit.

More information

Tyson Smith profile

Jason Alessi profile

Ryan Roberts profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for 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 For more on MSU recruiting, visit