June 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

Spartans count on developing Justice Alexander's natural ability

Justice Alexander: 'Michigan State stood out more than the other schools.' (Bill Greene / Scout.com)

Justice Alexander is trending up in his football career. The defensive end from Nordonia High in Macedonia, Ohio, played last season at 210 pounds. But now at 245 pounds, he impressed schools this summer with his ability to move with the added size. That led to new offers from Michigan State, Tennessee and Pittsburgh.

After discussing his recruiting rise with his family, he called Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio, who happened to be in Italy at the time, and made a commitment to MSU.

“Michigan State stood out more than the other schools,” he said. “I feel like it was the best school for me. I loved it. I just felt like it was the environment that I’m used to.”

Analysts seem to agree that while Alexander is far from a finished product, he has tremendous natural gifts and simply needs a little seasoning, which he will receive in East Lansing.

“He is only going to get better as he gains experience,” Scout’s Bill Greene says. “He has a very long wingspan. He is a very late bloomer, extremely raw and his best football is ahead of him. These are the types of kids Michigan State gets the most out of.”

Alexander was told he would start out at defensive end, and that is the position he camped at, but his size and athleticism leave the possibility of offensive tackle and defensive tackle open, as well. It was working with defensive line coach Ron Burton at camp that convinced him MSU was the place to help him maximize his considerable potential.

“I just loved how Coach Burton talked to the players,” he said. “I liked how he got at them. It reminded me of my defensive coordinator and coach. He got me a lot better in the two months I’ve known him. I felt like he could do the same thing but even better.”

Alexander is currently ranked as Scout’s No. 60 defensive end. He is the seventh commitment in MSU’s 2015 class.

Cass Tech lineman has MSU in top five

Detroit Cass Tech’s Joshua Alabi, one of the top class of 2015 prospects in the state, announced a top five of Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Tennessee and Miami (Fla.). He told Scout he does not have a leader and those schools all sit at the same level right now.

He recently visited Wisconsin and took a road trip with his team that included North Carolina, North Carolina State and Miami. A 6-foot-5, 290-pound senior-to-be, Alabi played primarily offensive tackle last season but is also being recruited as a defensive lineman.

Spartan commits rise in rankings

Michigan State commits made positive moves in Scout’s recent update of their class of 2015 rankings. Safety Grayson Miller, previously unranked, debuted at No. 34 at his position and a high three-star rating.

Kyonta Stallworth moved up one spot to No. 10 at his guard position and eight in the Scout 300 to No. 156. Cornerback Tyson Smith moved up four positional spots (to No. 24) and 40 overall spots (to No. 178) in the Scout 300. Noah Listermann moved up 11 spots at his offensive tackle position, to No. 40, and Khari Willis, previously ranked as a running back, was moved over to safety, where he is No. 45 at his position.

More information

Justice Alexander profile

Joshua Alabi 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.