Trieu: MSU target Peoples-Jones a big winner at The Opening

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Donovan Peoples-Jones goes through skills testing at The Opening.

Michigan State has several committed players and top recruiting targets at The Opening, which is taking place at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, this week. Through the first part of the week, several future Spartans and potential future Spartans are already making an impact.

* The Midwest has its first ever SPARQ champion and The Opening has its first underclassman SPARQ champion as Detroit Cass Tech junior wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who holds a Michigan State offer, took home the title after running a 4.42 40-yard dash, tossing the power ball 43.5 inches, and recording a 42.4 inch vertical jump, all at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds for a 149.49 SPARQ score. The next closest player was Nigel Knott at 147.96, but after that, no other player was within seven points of Peoples-Jones.

He has visited Michigan State several times and is close friends with teammate and Spartan commit Demetric Vance, but as of now, has no leaders or favorites. Fresh off a visit to USC, he will visit Florida next before shutting down visits and concentrating on his season.

* Spartans defensive tackle commit Mike Panasiuk of Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park made big waves, breaking the bench-press record with 43 reps of 185 pounds, just edging the previous mark of 42 held by Breiden Fehoko. Panasiuk also had a solid showing in one-on-ones, using that strength to toss JonCarlo Valentin on one rep.

Off the field, Panasiuk says he hopes to work on recruiting Detroit King wide receiver Donnie Corley, but has not had much of a chance to do so yet. Panasiuk ran a 5.16 40-yard dash, 4.66 shuttle, threw the power ball 37 inches, and recorded a 26.5-inch vertical or a SPARQ score of 79.86 in testing.

* Quarterback commit Messiah DeWeaver has proven his skills throughout a spring camp circuit that produced an invitation to this event. In addition to showing he is among the nation's best quarterbacks this week, his other important job is recruiting on behalf of the Spartans, particularly Corley and King cornerback Lavert Hill; DeWeaver said he talks to both of them "all the time." The two are on the same 7-on-7 team this week. DeWeaver did not run a 40, but measured in at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds. He also ran a 4.65 shuttle, threw the power ball 39 inches and recorded a 24.2 inch vertical jump.

* Corley, one of MSU's top remaining 2016 targets, has been the subject of a lot of news this week because he came in likely to announce a decision this week, then decided against it.

"I was, but then I talked to my dad and he told me to wait and wanted me to go to some schools down south," he said.

He now says he plans to visit Georgia, Tennessee and potentially LSU before making a decision. He said a new decision date has not been decided on yet. He admitted that DeWeaver and other players have been recruiting him this week, and getting to throw with the future Spartan quarterback has strengthened his pitch.

"It's a great fit and we've been out here throwing with each other and he feels like I'd do good things with him," Corley said.

Corley ran a 4.67 40, 4.25 shuttle and had a 36.4 inch vertical in testing.

* Hill says he is still "100-percent committed" to Penn State, but couldn't say yet whether he would still visit other schools in the fall. He did say he compares notes with Corley quite often, but no future visits or contact with the Spartans has been planned.

More information

Messiah DeWeaver profile

Mike Panasiuk profile

Donnie Corley 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 and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.