November 8, 2013 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

Spartans use bye week to capitalize on win over Michigan in recruiting

Southfield's Malik McDowell (67) received a visit from Mark Dantonio this week. (Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit News)

Michigan State’s bye week comes at an opportune time for recruiting. The Spartans are coming off a dominating 29-6 win over rival Michigan, a game that had more than 100 recruits present in Spartan Stadium. With the momentum generated from that victory behind them, MSU’s coaching staff hit the recruiting trail this week.

Head coach Mark Dantonio spent Tuesday at several in-state schools. He stopped at Jackson Lumen Chrsti, where two-sport star Khari Willis is quickly rising up recruiting boards and has an opportunity to be offered by the Spartans in both football and basketball. He also made a trip to Southfield, home of blue-chip defensive tackle Malik McDowell and offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, a Western Michigan commitment who recently added offers from Florida and Arkansas.

Dantonio also made his way to Oak Park, where the Spartans have already offered junior running back John Kelly, and to the Motor City, checking in with a pair of rival programs at King and Cass Tech.

“It was big,” King assistant coach Terel Patrick said. “Whenever you get the head coach from any program in -- but especially one of the two BCS major in-state programs -- it’s great. Dantonio showing up is big for our program, big in the eyes of our kids to show that those guys really have an interest in our kids. We can see their development on the field, and having an alum on staff with Curtis Blackwell makes our kids hold them in that much higher regard. They know there are great opportunities there.”

One of King’s top prospects, junior linebacker Tyriq Thompson, who has an offer from Michigan State, attended Saturday’s game. He was one of many recruits who had positive words about his experience.

“It went great. It was exciting,” he said. “My mom and I had fun. Their defense is amazing.”

As for Cass Tech, the Spartans have done well there in the last few recruiting cycles, securing commitments from players like Dennis Finley, Deon Drake and Jayru Campbell. A big reason for that success is Dantonio’s regular presence.

“He comes out to the school a lot,” Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher said, “so it’s good. I enjoy that he comes down to the school because kids get opportunity to see a head coach and it shows he cares about kids in the city.”

Florida running back picks MSU

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas running back Madre London did not attend Saturday’s game vs. Michigan, but he had taken an official visit to East Lansing earlier this season, and what he saw then was more than enough for him to want to be a Spartan. He chose Michigan State on Monday over Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois.

“I just feel like I had good connections with the coaches,” he told Fox Sports’ Amy Campbell. “They were really good to me, very honest. The head coach is very down to earth, he doesn’t show favoritism. It’s just the place I want to be.”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound London helped his team to a state title last season. This year, he currently has 14 touchdowns while averaging over eight yards a carry. After experiencing what it was like to have high school football’s ultimate prize, he is hoping to help the Green and White do the same.

“They’re a winning program and I’m coming from a similar program at my school,” he said. “I’m used to winning. I’m looking forward to winning a national championship for them.”

Spartans extend offer to junior receiver’s Corey Bender reported Wednesday that Tampa (Fla.) Wharton junior receiver Auden Tate was offered by Michigan State. Wharton has a big frame at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, and has additional offers from Illinois, North Carolina, South Florida, and Central Florida.

More information

Khari Willis profile

Madre London profile

Auden Tate 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