January 10, 2014 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

Ohio connections could help Michigan State land four-star DT Daniel Cage

Michigan State is among five schools that seem to be earning the most attention from Daniel Cage. (Photo courtesy of Scott Reed / SWOF, Scout.com)

We are now less than a month away from National Signing Day and Michigan State does not have a ton of room left in the class, but the staff is still working hard to fill it out. One of their top remaining priorities is at defensive tackle with Cincinnati Winton Woods’ athletic 6-foot-3, 295-pounder Daniel Cage.

Cage has an offer from the Spartans, but they will have to battle several other programs still in the mix for his signature. Dave Berk, who covers southwest Ohio for Scout.com, says there are four other programs that still have a shot at the four-star prospect.

“Basically, despite the coaching change, he’s still planning on taking an official visit to Louisville,” Berk said. “He’s following that up with officials to Michigan State and Missouri. Two sleepers out there are Cincinnati and Illinois. I would not be surprised if he stayed home. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the official to Louisville. Coach Strong is gone, and although Daniel is saying all the right things, one of the main reasons he liked Louisville was Coach Strong.”

Charlie Strong is now the head coach at Texas, and Louisville on Thursday hired Bobby Petrino.

Michigan State has done well in the Cincinnati-Dayton area recently and Berk believes those connections will help in their quest to add Cage to that list of guys.

“MSU sits in real good shape,” Berk said. “Harlon Barnett is his main recruiter and he’s a Cincinnati guy with a great relationship with Daniel’s high school coach. They’ve known each other a long time.

“On his visit, he’ll have a chance to be around the southwest Ohio guys already at MSU like Monty Madaris, Shane Jones, Trey Kilgore, Donovan Clark. I think they have a chance to play a big role and make him more comfortable with the distance from home.”

If the Spartans do land Cage, they’ll be bringing in a top-200 national prospect and a kid who fits into their scheme.

“That’s a spot that was manned by Jerel Worthy and Anthony Rashad White, and he follows in that mold,” Berk explained. “He’s a big body who can take on double teams and clog up space, which allows Michigan State’s defensive ends and linebackers to make plays. He’s kind of his own guy -- he doesn’t have the first step of Worthy and he’s not as huge as White -- but he fits their scheme real well because he can come off the ball and take up space.”

With three officials left to go in his recruitment, the schools still in pursuit of Cage will have to sweat it out until the last moment.

Added Berk: “I think he will carry this until National Signing Day.”

Spartans going after Ramsey again?

With the coaching change at Louisville, schools are coming back in on Cardinal commits. While Michigan State recruited more than a few kids on their list, at this point, there is only one the Spartans appear to be contacting.

“Defensive end Terry Ramsey -- that’s the one they’re going after,” Berk said. “But he did post that he is still solid to Louisville.”

Ramsey, a product of Clayton Northmont, holds a Spartan offer and camped in East Lansing over the summer.

South Florida commit set to visit

Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson linebacker Juwuan Brown told Scout.com’s Corey Bender this week that he will take an official visit to Michigan State on Jan. 24. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Brown was a second-team all-state selection this year. He committed to South Florida in July over offers from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Louisville and others.

More information

Daniel Cage profile

Terry Ramsey profile

Juwuan Brown 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.