Fort Wayne Carroll cornerback Justin Tranquill has offers from Illinois and Indiana, among others, and hopes to earn one from Michigan State. (Allen Trieu / Scout.com)
June is a pivotal month for prospective college recruits and coaches alike. Summer camps begin and many players are able to earn offers, and coaches can find new talent and secure commitments. Michigan State has always used the month as well as any program to evaluate players in person and get a feel for how they might fit.
Last spring, the idea that Nick Padla, Jalen Watts-Jackson or David Beedle would be in the MSU class may have seemed unlikely prior to their performances in front of the Spartan staff in June. Other current standouts on the current Spartan roster who earned their scholarships at camp include cornerback Trae Waynes and defensive end Demetrius Cooper.
That is the beauty of this time of year. Under-the-radar kids are able to earn their opportunities. Here are several worth watching as MSU prepares to host its first camp Saturday.
Nick Conner, linebacker, Dublin Scioto (Ohio): Conner is a throwback tough-guy at middle linebacker. He has several major offers, but would seemingly be a great fit in East Lansing. He was linebacker MVP at the Best of the Midwest Combine in the winter, and another good performance like that one could put him in offer contention with MSU.
David Edwards, tight end, Downers Grove (Ill.) North: A high school quarterback, Edwards has great size (6-6, 230) and has many schools excited about his potential as a tight end. Offers have come from several schools, including Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. But if he shows he can catch the ball -- something that is a bit of an unknown because he was under center last year -- he could find himself a top target of MSU’s.
Jamal Milan, defensive tackle, Chicago Raby: Milan has emerged as a major BCS prospect this spring. He’s an athletic 285-pound disruptor on the inside and has added offers from Illinois, Maryland, Cincinnati and others. He has not been active on the camp circuit, so this will be a good chance for the MSU staff to evaluate him.
Reggie Rogers, defensive back, Massillon (Ohio) Washington: Athletic enough to play wide receiver or safety in college, Rogers recently added his first Big Ten offer, from Rutgers. Despite other offers from Cincinnati and Kentucky, he maintains Michigan State is his favorite school and will look to impress the Spartans on Saturday.
Desmond Fitzpatrick, wide receiver, Farmington: Fitzpatrick is one of the top rising juniors (class of 2016) in the state and MSU has been in close contact for quite some time. Having added height and weight this offseason, Fitzpatrick has the opportunity to show that he moves just as well at that new size and earn himself an offer.
Ray Buford, cornerback, Southfield: Buford only played three games last season before an injury cut his year short. Otherwise, his offer list may be larger than the five he currently holds. His size (6-1, 188) and physical style of play fits what the Spartans like to do defensively, so he’s one to watch.
Nick Coleman, cornerback, Kettering (Ohio) Alter: The Spartans have gone into Ohio for cornerbacks like Jermaine Edmondson and Darian Hicks in recent years and Coleman, a great athlete who also excels on offense, is another candidate. He already holds several BCS offers, and will camp on Saturday in hopes of adding MSU.
Andrew Ruzek, defensive end, Stevens Point (Wis.): Mark Scarpinato came to camp as a relative unknown from the Badger State and left with an MSU offer. Ruzek could make a similar rise this summer. He stands nearly 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, and his aggressiveness on film, along with what we saw of him at camps last summer, makes him a good bet to turn some heads.
Jeffrey Christian, cornerback, Cincinnati Colerain: Christian is a smart, instinctive cover man who is smooth and willing to help in run support. He recently picked up his first Big Ten offer, from Minnesota, and will be in East Lansing on Saturday in what should be a very competitive group of cornerbacks looking to earn offers.
Wesley French, offensive lineman, St. Joseph (Mich.): French was visited in his school by the Spartans during the spring evaluation period. He is a good athlete for being 6-foot-4, 295 pounds. The questions are: Is he a guard, do the Spartans need a guard, and if not, can he play defensive tackle? He was one of the MVPs at the Elite Big Man Camp in February as a defensive lineman, so that possibility remains open.
Sean Foster, offensive tackle, Mundelein (Ill.) Carmel: Despite only just finishing his sophomore year, Foster is already 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds, and holds offers from schools like Nebraska, Indiana and others. His frame -- but really his athleticism at that size -- is what makes him intriguing. He has visited East Lansing, but the Spartans’ OL-DL camp on the June 11 will be his first chance to really show the staff what he can do.
Justin Tranquill, cornerback, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Carroll: Tranquill is a four-star prospect with speed and athleticism to spare. He has always done well at camps and will have an opportunity to show Michigan State why Indiana, Illinois and several others have already extended offers.
Spartans offer Ohio linebacker
Brendan Ferns, a class of 2016 linebacker from St. Clairsville (Ohio), was offered by Michigan State on Wednesday when he took a visit to East Lansing. Ferns (6-3, 220) now has 11 offers, including Minnesota, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, West Virginia and Virginia. His older brother Michael will be a freshman at Michigan this fall, but he told Scout that will not affect his interest in the Spartans.
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.