The 2015 edition of the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy was perhaps the most widely attended of the camp’s 12-year history. That was the only year it was at Macomb Dakota. Sprawled across several fields, there were more than 1,000 campers in attendance.
Not many who were there may remember this, but a young defensive end from Florida named Lashawn Paulino-Bell was there that day. At the time, he was entering his junior season and had two scholarship offers, Temple and Florida Atlantic.
Michigan State certainly remembers he was there. The Spartan staff was also at the camp and began recruiting Paulino-Bell. Through a recruitment that would later bring in 19 scholarship offers, including Notre Dame, Georgia, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh and more, his early experience in the state of Michigan brought him comfort with the distance. And the more he got to know Michigan State and the coaching staff, the more it became apparent that was the place for him.
“He is one kid that's been fairly well reserved when it comes to chopping it up about the recruiting process,” Scout.com Florida analyst Corey Bender says. “He's barely visited any schools, but Michigan State is one of the few that's got him on campus.
“East Lansing provided that home-like feel, and Michigan State also checked off all of the boxes when it came to his major (engineering). Mississippi State was out front early on, but it didn't take long for the Spartans to leave their mark and seal the deal over the summer. Notre Dame was under heavy consideration at the time, as well.”
Paulino-Bell is one of two Sunshine State defensive ends committed to Michigan State, along with Bishop Moore’s Donovan Winter. Whether it is because he is all the way down in Florida or his unassuming nature, he has not drawn the amount of attention or press others in the Spartan class have, but this is a notice to Spartan Nation to take heed.
“He checks in with a good frame and size at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, and can really turn the corner while maintaining body control and playing with leverage,” Bender says. “He has a quick first step. He has a handful of sacks this season, but they have guys with Power Five offers all the way down to the third string, so they do a nice job of rotating them, and he has probably only played the first half of each of the last two weeks because they nearly shut out both teams.”
The Spartans look good at the defensive end position for years to come with true freshmen Auston Robertson and Josh King already seeing time on the field, but youth at that position may not stop Paulino-Bell from finding his way to the field.
“I do (think he can play early),” Bender said. “He can get to the quarterback, he is relentless and has the measureables and athletic ability.”
Spartans to receive visit from offered Georgia DT
Carrollton (Ga.) junior defensive tackle Josh Walker received an offer from Michigan State earlier in the month. He had considered visiting the Spartans last weekend, but did not make the trip and will look to get to East Lansing later in the season, and it is clear MSU will be one of his top choices.
“It was Coach Warner (who offered me), that’s my recruiter,” Walker said. “He said we like your motor and how you play and they offered. That’s a big offer for me.”
UCLA offered shortly after Michigan State and Walker says the Bruins are tops on his list, but the Spartans and Pitt still have opportunities to change that.
Four-star junior running back visits MSU
Bloomington (Ind.) South running back Kristian Pechac is one to keep an eye on. A big 6-foot-1, 197-pound back, Pechac has 781 yards and 14 touchdowns already this season. He has been in contact with Michigan State and was at last weekend’s home game.
His father is the director of player development at Indiana, but Pechac says he is open to other schools in the recruiting process. Akron, Kent State and Toledo have offered scholarships while Wisconsin, Kentucky, Minnesota and Illinois are also in contact.
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 and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.