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Trieu: Arcuri could be ‘under-the-radar’ find for MSU

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Recruiting can be unpredictable and Orange (Ohio) Olentangy Liberty senior A.J. Arcuri experienced that firsthand this week.

Arcuri had been rising up boards through the spring and summer as his 6-foot-6, 242-pound frame and potential as an offensive lineman drew him new looks and offers. He performed well at Michigan State, but the Spartans were full at his position.

That all changed on Friday when a spot freed up and he was offered. By Monday, he was committed to Michigan State.

“A.J.’s one of those guys who has gone under the radar for the most part,” Scout’s Dave Berk said. “He had some offers, so he had some opportunities elsewhere. He camped with Michigan State in June and impressed the coaches, but no one thought he would be a part of the class because they already had their commitments.”

After receiving the offer late on Friday night, Arcuri quickly set up a visit for Monday and it was during the visit that he committed. He gives the Spartans a lot to work with, and he has embraced being an offensive line recruit.

“The thing is, he’s not really experienced as an offensive lineman,” Berk says, “but what I like is that he was a very aggressive defensive lineman, he’s athletic, and he understands where he was as a defensive lineman, whereas he could be a major offensive tackle because he’s got some athletic ability.

“I went back and looked at testing results from the Columbus Opening regional, and he ran a 5.1 40 and to have guy run 5.1 electronic at 6-61/2, 240-some pounds, he can add weight and not lose his athletic ability. He has to still work on technique, but he has great upside.”

The Spartan class is one of the top-ranked classes in the country, and their success has led to more early commitments than ever before. Still, their tried-and-true method of camp evaluation still might produce a gem this year in Arcuri as it has many times in previous years.

“This staff has proven over the years that they value camp and the evaluation process they do in camps,” Berk said, “and there were a couple guys this year that got on the board and they targeted in this situation and A.J. was at the top of that.”

Arcuri held additional offers from Indiana, Illinois, Pittsburgh and more.

He is the 20th commitment for MSU in the 2016

Spartans move on from Cupp

Arcuri’s spot opened up because Gavin Cupp, an offensive lineman from Leipsic (Ohio) who was committed to the Spartans, attended Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp and had his scholarship revoked as a result.

While the Spartans have had other commitments attend camps, the difference here was the number of spots left along with an agreement the staff had with Cupp.

“It was a matter of, they value that spot,” Berk said, “and with Gavin, they were sure to ask if he was 100 percent before committing because that was the last spot and this year is not like normal years where they have a lot of spots, so especially on the offensive line, he saw guys committing and jumped on it.”

Jonah Morris and Justin Layne, two other Spartan commits, attended Friday Night Lights as well, but sat in the stands as spectators and did not participate.

“We don’t know what their agreement was fully, but what I understand was that (Gavin) wouldn’t camp and would be done with the recruiting process,” Berk said. “They asked if he was sure he wanted to be a Spartan. If he had just gone to Ohio State, I don’t think anything would have been said, but the fact that he participated in camp showed MSU that he still had interest in being somewhere else.”

Spartans offer 4-star WR

Cleveland Heights (Ohio) wide receiver Jaylen Harris, one of the top-ranked juniors in the Midwest, added an offer from Michigan State this week. The Spartans join a list of schools that includes Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan and more. Harris (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) is the nation’s No. 148 overall player and No. 20 wide receiver on Scout.

A.J. Arcuri profile

Gavin Cupp profile

Jaylen Harris 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.