Michigan State has continued to build in-roads at Detroit Cass Tech in recent years, landing commitments from players like Dennis Finley and Deon Drake in the process. The Spartans are pursuing several Technicians again, recently offering junior safety Demetric Vance and sophomore wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Vance began the year with an offer from North Carolina State, but did not yet have the recruiting profile of some of his teammates. But after a junior season in which he earned All-State honorable mention and All-Detroit honors, that quickly changed. Especially since Vance, solely a wide receiver early in his career, showed his abilities on defense, recording four interceptions and 61 tackles.
He says now that schools, including Michigan State, are primarily recruiting him for defense. Position was just one part of his discussion with the Spartan staff when he visited recently.
"It was great," he said. "The experience going up there was great. The coaches were showing a bunch of love, and I was talking to Coach Dantonio and he offered me."
"Vance brought a tenacious type of attitude," Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher says. "He was a fast, downhill, aggressive, tough hitter who played the pass aggressively and brought a mental toughness to the game and an attitude that, 'I own the field.'"
Jermain Crowell, who was Cass Tech's defensive coordinator last season and is now the head coach at Belleville High School, had to fight to get Vance, who was set on being a wide receiver, over to defense last season. It was the same battle he fought with Ohio State freshman cornerback Damon Webb at one point.
"(Demetric) is sweet," Crowell said. "He has natural safety instincts. It's the same thing we had when we saw Webb was going to be a better defensive back. You could tell Vance was going to be a better DB because he was always around the ball. Then you add his frame and athleticism, and he's going to try to come in and dismantle you at 195 pounds, so once he gets serious in the weight room, it's going to be bad (for opponents)."
Following the Spartan offer, Vance added Michigan this week to a list that already included Tennessee, Iowa, Cincinnati and others.
He says he plans to decide on a college after summer.
Offered cover corner looking to visit
Michigan State recently offered Upper Marlboro (Md.) Riverdale Baptist cornerback Zachariah McPhearson, a 6-foot, 185-pound junior who is beginning to accumulate more offers weekly. Kentucky, Boston College, Clemson, Iowa and Wake Forest are among the other schools on his list.
He says MSU is a school he looks forward to learning more about.
"They are a powerhouse school and they won the Rose Bowl not too long ago," he said on Spartan Digest. "I was just pretty impressed that they recognized my talent and see what I can bring to their team."
McPhearson says he will visit this summer.
Another Allen offered
Hinsdale (Ill.) Central junior center Matt Allen (6-3, 250 pounds) was recently offered by Michigan State. The younger brother of Spartan offensive linemen Brian and Jack Allen, he is very familiar with the Spartans. Like his older brothers, Allen is also a wrestler and one of the Midwest's top offensive linemen.
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.