April 18, 2014 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

Spartans pursue smart, athletic Ohio DT Jordan Thompson

Jordan Thompson is ranked the No. 24 defensive tackle in the nation for the 2015 class by Scout.com (Photo by Scott Reed / SWOF)

As the spring evaluation period begins and schools head out to visit top prospects across the country, Michigan State actually received a visit from one of their top targets as Cincinnati La Salle junior defensive tackle Jordan Thompson came to town.

Southwest Ohio has been kind to the Spartans, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, and Thompson, despite being undersized at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, has all the tools to be a disruptive force at the next level.

“He plays the game you want to see it played,” Lancers head coach Nate Moore says. “He plays really well with his hands, gets great extension. He's great in the run game. He's destructive in how he takes on offensive guards. He is a real powerful guy, a guy that jumps off the film when you watch it. He doesn't need a spot shadow.”

That type of high-motor, high-aggression game is an ideal fit for MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. That led the Spartans to offer in January, but he told Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk that he has been in contact with area recruiter Harlon Barnett since his freshman year and has developed a relationship with defensive line coach Ron Burton.

He also took note of what they did last season.

“I saw what they did against Ohio State and also how they played in the Rose Bowl,” Thompson said. “I also saw them when they played Northwestern and a couple of other games. I thought they had very good players and are very disciplined on defense.”

Thompson’s offer list now stands at 13, including Boston College, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wake Forest and Northwestern. At this point, he is open and has not narrowed down his potential choices or set a decision date.

While that remains uncertain, what is not up for debate, his coach says, is that whoever lands him is getting not only a great player, but an outstanding student.

“He's such a great kid. He’s one of the best I've ever been around,” Moore said. “He's such a leader. The players voted him captain this past year as a junior, which is quite an honor. He carries a 3.74 GPA and has been in first or second honors every quarter since he's been in high school. The scholar-athlete tag definitely applies to him. School is very important to him. He comes from a great family and it's easy to see he's been brought up the right way.”

Spring evaluation visits

Michigan State’s staff hit the road as the evaluation period began. Among the in-state stops were Farmington High for sophomore wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick and linebacker David Reese, and Oak Park for offered running back-defensive back John Kelly and Western Michigan linebacker commit Junior McMullen.

The staff also stopped at Miamisburg (Ohio) for freshman offensive lineman Josh Myers, who already has several major offers. Among Thursday’s stops was Decatur (Ind.) Central, where quarterback Tommy Stevens holds a Spartan offer and has been to campus.

Spartan commit performs well in Chicago

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s cornerback Tyson Smith attended last Friday’s Nike SPARQ Combine in Chicago and impressed, clocking a 4.52 in the 40. He also posted a 35.8 vertical jump and had an overall SPARQ score of 99.12, one of the top-15 scores at the event.

On Sunday, Smith played with his HYPE Athletics 7 on 7 team at the IMG Regional tournament and was one of the top performers at that event. He has been committed to the Spartans since December. He was offered following the team’s summer camp last June.

More information

Jordan Thompson profile

John Kelly profile

Tyson Smith 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 weekly at detroitnews.com. For more on MSU recruiting, visit michiganstate.scout.com.