December 13, 2013 at 7:27 am

Allen Trieu

MSU coaches hit the road in busy December for Malik McDowell, many others

Malik McDowell is rated the No. 7 defensive end in the country by Scout.com. (unknown / Photo courtesy of Allen Trieu)

The NCAA lengthened the upcoming dead period for recruiting, making this last contact period (Dec. 1-14) extra important and busy for college coaches looking to get out on the road before bowl preparations begin. This was no different for Michigan State, and coming off a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl berth, the staff was immediately out on the road recruiting.

Defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett stopped at Saginaw Heritage, the home of junior Brian Cole, who is currently Scout.com's top-rated in-state prospect in the 2015 class. Cole has formed a good relationship with Barnett throughout the process and the possibility of being coached by him in the defensive backfield has the Spartans in high consideration. A productive high school tailback, Cole is being recruited as both a safety and wide receiver.

In addition to Cole, Barnett also stopped at Southfield High this week. The Blue Jays have one of the top uncommitted prospects in the country, defensive tackle Malik McDowell, who took an official visit to Alabama last weekend and heads to Florida this weekend. In addition to McDowell, linemate Lawrence Marshall, a Michigan commit, is there, along with senior offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, and junior defensive backs Ray Buford and Dior Johnson.

Barnett was also down in his familiar stomping grounds of Southwest Ohio. One of his many stops there was at Winton Woods High School, which has one of Ohio's top uncommitted seniors, defensive tackle Daniel Cage. Scout's Dave Berk reports Cage is targeting a January official visit to East Lansing. Also at Winton Woods is junior offensive tackle George Brown, who has nearly 30 scholarship offers and camped at MSU in the summer. Another young offensive lineman who was visited is Cincinnati Elder's Tommy Kraemer, a sophomore who says the Spartans may be close to offering.

Defensive line coach Ron Burton made his way to Sun Prairie (Wis.) to see another top senior defensive tackle, Craig Evans. Evans, a soft commit of Wisconsin's, took an official visit to Michigan State last Wednesday and is reportedly considering a return trip to East Lansing for an unofficial visit in January. Burton also made stops in the Chicagoland area. He had an in-home visit with committed defensive tackle Enoch Smith and attended Wednesday's Core 6 Banquet. Core 6 is an organization in the area where several Spartan commits have trained, including Chase Gianacakos, Matt Morrissey and Brian Allen.

Other stops in the state included state champion Birmingham Brother Rice, where the Spartans checked in on senior safety Jason Alessi, who had an outstanding career for the Warriors and may be a preferred walk-on prospect. The school also has several outstanding junior prospects, including defensive end Jack Dunaway, quarterback Alex Malzone and wide receiver Grant Perry. One local prospect who reports Spartan coaches coming in is Lansing Everett's Damon Terry, a speedy junior receiver who caught 40 passes for 888 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

Early offer to Pennsylvania lineman

Scout's Brian Dohn reports Michigan State stopped at Exeter Township High School in Reading (Pa.) and extended an offer to sophomore offensive lineman Michael Menet. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound youngster is an early four-star prospect on Scout and holds additional offers from Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Temple.

More information

Brian Cole profile

Malik McDowell profile

Michael Menet profile

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.