January 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

Future Spartan Montae Nicholson shows two-way potential in all-star practices

Scout.com's Brian Dohn on Montae Nicholson: 'By the end of his (Michigan State) career, I think he'll play on both sides of the ball.' (Photo courtesy of Brian Dohn / Scout.com)

High school all-star week allows fans and analysts a chance to see the top prep players in the country compete against one another. Success at the practices and in the games is no guarantee of college success, but the list of former players to participate in the postseason games is filled with eventual All-Americans and NFL stars.

Michigan State has two future players in San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and through the first few practices, both safety Montae Nicholson and center Brian Allen were more than holding their own. Nicholson, a safety from Gateway High in Monroeville, Pa., was chosen as one of Scout.com’s top five performers at Tuesday’s practice.

“He had another interception after grabbing two on Monday,” Scout’s Bill Greene said, “and once again showed the ability to break on the football and cover a tremendous amount of ground.”

Nicholson is playing safety this week, but Scout.com East Coast analyst Brian Dohn still believes Spartan fans may see him catch passes from his own quarterback as well as opposing ones.

“We are seeing him as a safety here, and he’ll play there to begin with, but Michigan State recruited him as a wide receiver and I’ve seen him at combines and camps and for his team at Gateway,” Dohn said. “He can play wide receiver and he may not do it as a freshman or a sophomore, but by the end of his career, I think he’ll play on both sides of the ball.”

Allen was chosen as one of his team’s captains for Saturday’s game and has shown the same type of intensity and technical prowess that made him an All-American at Hinsdale (Ill.) Central.

“He’s a tenacious kid,” Dohn said. “He will get up under you, win the pad-level battle, win leverage, looks he has good strength, but he’s 6-feet tall. When you’re talking about six feet as a center, yeah, he’s athletic, he can move, but can he overcome that?”

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl, at San Antonio, will air on Saturday at 1 p.m. on NBC.

Four-star RB wants to visit

Minneapolis Washburn running Jeff Jones played in this week’s Under Armour All-American Game and during the week of practice, updated his recruitment with Jamie Newberg of Scout.com. Jones committed to Minnesota in February but plans to take an official visit to Florida and says he will visit Michigan State, although no date has been set for that yet.

“They interest me a lot,” Jones said of MSU. “I already have a good relationship with coach (Brad) Salem (running backs). I am looking forward to visiting them and meeting the rest of the staff.”

Jones is part of the Scout 300 and ranked as the 14th-best running back in the country by Scout. He was named Mr. Football in Minnesota as a senior.

Spartan commit has high hopes

Columbus (Ohio) Walunt Ridge defensive end Robert Bowers, who committed to Michigan State in August, missed his entire senior season after having shoulder surgery. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound prospect told Scout’s Simone Scott that it was an injury from last season, but he is not expecting it to affect him once he gets to East Lansing.

“My recovery is going really well and I’m back working out,” he said.

Bowers is taking his official visit to Michigan State this month and says he has lofty goals for his time with the Green and White.

“I’m looking forward to school, working hard to get to the next level and be the best player that ever played there,” he said.

More information

Montae Nicholson profile

Brian Allen profile

Robert Bowers 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.